Important Archaeological Discovery in East St. Louis at Risk

An archaeological discovery at the East St. Louis site suggests this location was a suburb to the prehistoric city of Cahokia and home to many who were part of a vibrant American Indian culture.  According to npr.org,  “There are remnants of more than a thousand prehistoric houses and the base of an earthen pyramid — one of dozens that would have towered above the original settlement”.  Click here for a more detailed article on the discovery from npr.org

What is worrisome about this important finding is that the site is not protected.  Construction for a new bridge poses a threat to the preservation of the prehistoric Mississippi village.  The bridge is planned to be open by 2014.

Excavations conducted by the Illinois State Archaeological Survey have revealed ancient objects with an artistic flare, such as a figurine of a female kneeling (believed to be affiliated with fertility).  Findings like this that help us gain an understanding of past human activities and the ways humans expressed their activities through art.

Clay figurine found at the East St. Louis site (photo courtesy of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, University of Illinois and npr.org)

Clay figurine found at the East St. Louis Mounds Center (photo courtesy of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, University of Illinois and npr.org)

Archaeologists are currently working to see if the land can be federally protected.  The future of the East St. Louis site is uncertain, while more remnants of the past await discovery.

What do you think of this discovery and its future?

Remember to vote for pro preservation legislation to help important sites like this!

You might enjoy “Envisioning Cahokia: A Landscape Perspective” written by Rinita A. Dalan, George R. Holley (my former professors), William I. Woods, John A. Koepke Jr., and Harold W. Watters

For more on The Illinois State Archaeological Survey click here

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