by William Allen, Post-Dispatch Science Writer-1998

         as forwarded by Jeff Glickman-1998

        c/o Circular Times


Archaeologists have made an astonishing discovery at the




what appears to be a large stone structure beneath

the site’s biggest earthen mound.”

          "The stone was discovered accidentally Jan. 24 during drilling to construct a water-drainage system within Monks Mound, the largest Indian mound north of Mexico and the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the New World." "' This is astounding,' said William Woods, an archaeologist with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, who is leading the investigation of the mystery structure. 'It's so unexpected that it would never have entered your mind before. ' ''

           "The stone is at least 32 feet (10 meters) long in one of its dimensions. It is buried about 40 feet below the surface of a terrace on the western side of Monks Mound and well above the mound's bottom. Researchers believe it may be made of cobbles or slabs of limestone or sandstone." "Even if the apparent structure turns out to be no larger than this, it would be a dramatic find. Stone does not occur naturally at Cahokia (which is in the Mississippi River valley about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis, Missouri--J.T.) so any stone would have had to be brought by humans. Stone is uncommon at excavations there." "'There's no question this is a unique discovery,' said Melvin Fowler, an archaeologist at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. 'It's totally unexpected.'" "Fowler, reached by telephone in his office Friday, is widely considered the godfather of Cahokia archaeology."

           "Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site in the United States and has the biggest mounds and the greatest number of mounds anywhere. The site is named for a sub-tribe of Illini Indians who lived there when the French arrived in the 1600s. At its peak around 1100 A.D., the area was covered with a community of 20,000 people."

          "The mystery was discovered about 10 o'clock on a cold, windy Saturday morning amid snow flurries as workers drilled into the western side of the mound." "Andy Martignoni Jr. and Steve Fulton, both SIUE archaeologists, were on duty at the site when the drill operator reported hitting a rock about 140 feet into the side of the hill. He drilled on, but the drill bit broke after cutting through about 32 feet of rock." "Martignoni and Fulton talked the situation over for a few minutes." "'We talked about a possible drain, a tomb, all kinds of wild stuff,' Martignoni said. Comparing the 'feel' of the drill with countless other operations, the drill operator told them the structure seemed to be made of large stones apparently placed together. That gave the archaeologists more reason to think it might be something other than just a large rock." "Martignoni called Woods, who had just gone to bed after staying up all night writing a report." "'You won't believe this,' Martignoni told him. 'We hit some stone at Monks Mound.'" "Woods and his colleagues plan to investigate the finding this summer without harming the mound." Investigative techniques to be used will include seismic waves, drilling and testing for electromagnetic impulses.

          (See the St. Louis Post-Distpatch for March 9, 1998, "Cahokia mounds finding stuns archeologists--A large stone under the site's biggest mound may be a man-made structure," by William Allen, Post-Dispatch Science Writer. Many thanks to Lou Farrish of UFO NEWSCLIPPING SERVICE for forwarding the news article.)  [Jeff Glickman]

           (Editor's Comment: Funny how this story didn't make the wire services. I guess the presence of a stone structure at Cahokia, which knocks North American archaeology for a loop, is only considered "local news" by the media barons.) [Jeff Glickman]

Here is an interesting news story on Cahokia: [CMD] "COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KRT) ヨ About 1,000 years ago, Native Americans on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River built earthen mounds to bury their dead and raise their buildings toward the sky. In recent years, the Cahokia Mounds became something else: a racing ground for rogue riders on all-terrain vehicles. "

 ICT [2000/05/10]  Crackdown on ATVs focuses attention on Cahokia Mounds


Cahokia -- Facts, Info, and Encyclopedia article

Cahokia Mounds Home Page   Cahokia Mounds   Archaeological Sites  

Southwest Illinois News - Cahokia Mounds    A Bibliography of Cahokia Studies

Enjoy Illinois: Illinois Bureau of Tourism Official Website

UCSB Anthropology--Archaeology on Film (Cahokia)






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