COLLINSVILLE – Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site will offer visitors a glimpse of a sacred moment in the lives of Native Americans 1,000 years ago by observing the dawn of the summer solstice at “Woodhenge” on Sunday, June 21.
Woodhenge is a calendar of posts arranged to line up with sunrise on the longest day of the year, the shortest day and on the equinoxes, when day and night are equal in length. Residents of Cahokia Mounds — which was then the largest city north of Mexico — considered these days sacred.
Out of respect for Native American beliefs, no rituals or ceremonies will be held at the free event. But visitors will stand in the same place where the Mississippian people once gathered and watch the sun rise above the same huge mound.
One definition for the start of summer is the summer equinox. That’s the longest day of the year and when the sun reaches its northernmost point in the sky. The solstice arrives June 21 this year.
The re-creation of Woodhenge stands about one-half mile west of Monks Mound on Collinsville Road. Participants should arrive by 5:20 a.m. to hear an archaeologist explain the discovery and function of this monument. Visitors should dress for the weather and bring insect repellent.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is just eight miles from downtown St. Louis in Collinsville.
It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 to 5. There is no admission fee but a donation of $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for students and $15 for families is suggested.