Monks Mound, Cahokia

Monks Mound is the largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in the Americas and the largest pyramid north of Mesoamerica. Located at the Cahokia Mounds UNESCO World Heritage Site near Collinsville, Illinois, the mound size was calculated in 1988 as about 100 feet (30 m) high, 955 feet (291 m) long including the access ramp at the southern end, and 775 feet (236 m) wide. This makes Monks Mound roughly the same size at its base as the Great Pyramid of Giza (13.1 acres / 5.3 hectares). Its base circumference is larger than the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. As a platform mound, the earthwork supported a wooden structure on the summit.

Unlike Egyptian pyramids which were built of stone, the platform mound was constructed almost entirely of layers of basket-transported soil and clay. Because of this construction and its flattened top, over the years, it has retained rainwater within the structure. This has caused "slumping", the avalanche-like sliding of large sections of the sides at the highest part of the mound. Its designed dimensions would have been significantly smaller than its present extent, but recent excavations have revealed that slumping was a problem even while the mound was being made.

  • Cahokia Mounds-Tree Frame 3-2008
  • Cahokia
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, GLCT
  • Cahokia Mounds 3-2008
  • Monk's mound at Cahokia Mounds State Park
  • Monks mound
  • Cahokia Mounds
  • Monk's Mound