McCarty Mound (Illinois)

Early Woodland Native American Life In The American Bottom-The McCarty Mound could offer a glimpse of the American Bottom’s prehistory pre-Cahokia Mounds.

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McCarty Mound, an unusual Woodland Period Mound, Lies in East St. Louis
McCarty Mound, an unusual Woodland Period Mound, Lies in East St. Louis

The American Bottom is located across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis, Missouri, and it’s the largest expanse of floodplain on the river. Though it has a long history of human occupation, it’s been overshadowed by nearby Cahokia Mounds, the largest prehistoric settlement in the United States and a World Heritage Site. The McCarty Mound, the Conservancy’s latest acquisition in the American Bottom, is a first in this area to predate the late prehistoric Mississippian period, the time of Cahokia. A single projectile recovered from the mound dates to the Middle Woodland period, perhaps 1,000 years before the rise of Cahokia and the East Saint Louis Mound Group.

The McCarty Mound is located at the western edge of East St. Louis, Illinois. In the mid-nineteenth century, local dentist and antiquarian J.R. Patrick produced a map showing McCarty to be one of three mounds lying between Cahokia and the nearby East Saint Louis Mound Group. Today The other two mounds have apparently been obliterated, and the top of McCarty was removed, reducing it to a rectangular platform approximately three-feet high.

Summary. Read More in our Winter 2016  Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 19 No. 3. Browse the article summaries in our Fall 2016 Issue.

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