Saturday, February 07, 2015

Ancient East St. Louis Was Bigger than Cahokia

Archaeologists working on the site of the new Stan Musial Bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis are finding clues that will rewrite Illinois history. Apparently the civilization that existed there 800 years ago rivaled and even temporarily surpassed the size of prehistoric city at Cahokia Mounds.

To put that in perspective we're talking about centuries that Robin Hood, if he existed, fought the minions of King John in England, and a couple centuries after the Vikings colonized Greenland and Newfoundland.

There's a lot archaeologists still don't know about the American Indian culture in our region.

But they're analyzing what they found during a dig to clear land for the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge — and they're ready to share.

For one, East St. Louis was a bustling city chock full of immigrants. Around 1000 A.D., it was bigger than nearby Cahokia Mounds site and it thrived for about 150 years.

Mary Cooley of the Belleville News-Democrat has the rest of the story (although the link is to the Southern Illinoisan).