The first weekend in October brings a chance to hike with experts on the history and ecology of Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and get scholars’ help identifying ancient artifacts.
The fall Nature and Culture Hike takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The three-mile expedition will be led by an archaeologist and naturalist.
The hike will depart from the Interpretive Center and follow trails through grassland, marsh, and forest. Participants will discover how plants and trees were used for food, fiber, medicine and dyes, and will learn what excavations tell us about the Mississippian culture that built this prehistoric city.
The hike is free, and no registration is required. Participants should dress for the weather and bring water and insect repellent. The hike will be canceled if it rains.
The next day, Sunday, Oct. 2, the site holds its annual Artifact Identification Day in the Interpretive Center. From noon to 4, archaeologists will be on hand to determine the age, culture, function and material for artifacts brought in by the public. No monetary appraisals will be given.
The historic site’s mounds are the largest Native American earthworks north of Mexico. They were part of a huge city created by the Mississippian culture that flourished 1,000 years ago in the Midwest and South.
Cahokia Mounds is just eight miles from downtown St. Louis in Collinsville, Ill., off Interstates 55/70 (exit 6) and Interstate 255 (exit 24), on Collinsville Road. There is no admission fee but a donation of $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students and $15 for families is suggested.
For more information, call (618) 346-5160 or visit www.cahokiamounds.org.
The site is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. IHPA protects the state’s historic resources, which contribute to education, culture and the economy. IHPA sites include ancient burial mounds, forts and buildings erected by settlers, and homes connected to famous Illinoisans.