Are your ready for a memorable vacation? Visit one of United States’ Ancient Cities

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Are you looking for a life-changing vacation experience? Do you want to go deeper into an understanding of the United States? You’ll discover a more profound admiration for early American history. You’ll find that America has an ancient city.

When we think of ancient lost cities and great archeological sites, we typically believe outside of America. Maybe we will think of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Machu Picchu in Peru, or the lost mythical city of Atlantis. But the modern United States is not without its own “lost” cities. At its height, Cahokia was one of the world’s largest cities (at least larger than contemporary London). Cahokia is one of America’s most valuable historical sites and is famous for its many mounds. For history students, it means one does not need to travel abroad at the age of Covid to see lost civilizations.

Where is Cahokia on the Map?

The location of the historic site of Cahokia Mounds is in southern Illinois, just near St. Louis. It is one of the most important ancient, ruined cities discovered in the U.S. Here you can see an interactive Open Street map that shows the exact location of Cahokia. To zoom in or out and see the surrounding area, use the buttons shown on the map. To see the surrounding objects, drag the map with your mouse.

The Site

Cahokia is the remains of the largest Native American settlement in the United States before Europeans colonized the Americas. One of the world’s greatest cities, Cahokia, was more extensive and more significant than London was in AD 1250. The Mississippians were excellent builders who erected various structures from practical homes for everyday living to monumental public works that have maintained their grandeur for centuries.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it here.

Hiking at Cahokia Mounds

When you visit Cahokia Mounds, you’ll notice many people wearing athletic clothes. That’s because Monk’s Mound is a favorite outdoor workout amongst locals. With over 160 steps to get to the top, you’ll see plenty of people running as quickly as they can up the stairs and descending just as fast.

Monk’s Mound is the clear favorite. However, you find over 10 miles of hiking trails around Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, so don’t limit yourself to one route. You could easily spend an entire day exploring the grounds of this park.


Further Reading

Books to check out

Cahokia Mounds: America’s First City (Landmarks) Paperback by William Iseminger

About one thousand years ago, a phenomenon occurred in a fertile Mississippi River flood plain known today as the “American Bottom.” This phenomenon came to be called Cahokia Mounds, America’s first city.

Interpreting the rich heritage of a site like Cahokia Mounds is a balancing act; the interpreter must speak as a scholar to the public on behalf of an entirely different civilization. Since even those three groups splintered into myriad dialects of perspective, sometimes it is hard to know what language to use. But William Iseminger’s work has given him nearly four decades of practice in Cahokia Conversation 101. He tells the story of the place and its ancient culture with the clarity and confidence of a native speaker.


Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin Library of American Indian History) by Timothy R. Pauketat

The fascinating story of a lost city and an unprecedented American civilization

While Mayan and Aztec civilizations and documented, relatively few people know the most significant prehistoric Native American city. Its location is north of Mexico-a site that expert Timothy Pauketat brings vividly to life in this groundbreaking book. Almost a thousand years ago, a city flourished along the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The site lies around a sprawling central plaza known as Cahokia. And it draws generations of archaeologists, whose work produced evidence of complex celestial timepieces, feasts big enough to feed thousands, and disturbing signs of human sacrifice. Drawing on these fascinating finds, Cahokia presents a lively and astonishing narrative of prehistoric America.

Moon Hunt is the third epic tale in the Morning Star series by New York Times bestselling authors W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear. 

Against the intricate majesty that was America’s most fantastic pre-Columbian city, the Gears weaved the latest archaeological data. It’s a painstakingly accurate reconstruction of Cahokia and provides a rare look into the mystical underpinnings of Native American culture.

What happens when your god goes missing?

Someone spirits the lord god of Cahokiaaway to the Underworld. The Empire teeters on the brink of disaster as clans fight for control. Night Shadow Star, the god’s human sister, and Fire Cat, her warrior bodyguard, are the only two people who can bring him back. They descend into the Sacred Cave, where monsters dwell, willing to sacrifice themselves to save their kingdom.

What they find makes them question if that sacrifice is worth it.


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Judy Kundert

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at can find me at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains hiking, biking

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