Re-live the Adventure ~The Cahokia Mounds, a
World Heritage Site
Cahokia Mounds is the site of the largest prehistoric Indian city
north of Mexico. At its height, the city, arranged around open
plazas, had approximately 20,000 residents. A great wooden stockade
encircled the Central Ceremonial Precinct. A total of 120 mounds were
built in the area, as well as several Woodhenges, used as solar
The 2200-acre State Historic Site includes an
interpretive center and 70 mounds, which were built by the cityís
Although Lewis and Clark never visited Cahokia Mounds,there are some
connections with the site.
While at Camp Du Bois in the winter of 1803-04, Clark and another member
of the group did visit some mounds to the east of the camp and recorded
this in the journals. Today, this site is called the Grassy Lake site by
archaeologists, and it was once composed of 11 mounds along the edge of
a terrace overlooking the floodplain on the south edge of South Roxanna.
Only one mound survives today in Dadís Park.
The other connection was actually after the expedition. While on their
journey west, at the
Mandan village in North Dakota,Lewis
and Clark hired Toussaint Charbonneau to serve
as an interpreter, and he was accompanied by his
Sacagawea and their newly born son,
Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. After the expedition, William Clark persuaded Toussaint and Sacagawea to let him educate their son in St. Louis, to
which they agreed. In the fall of 1809, they were finally able to bring
him to St. Louis. Although Clark was out of town, Jean Baptiste was
baptized in St. Louis on Dec. 29, 1809. The priest who performed the
baptism was Dom Urbain Guillet, leader of the colony of Trappist Monks
who had recently settled at Cahokia Mounds. Previously, Guillet had
consulted Meriwether Lewis, who was territorial governor, about possibly
getting some federal land grant in Missouri for their colony, but they
later decided to settle at Cahokia Mounds (then known as Cantine Mounds)
Regional Lewis and Clark & Historical Attractions
in Hartford & Wood River, Illinois ~ St. Louis &
St. Charles, Missouri
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