Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park is inviting visitors to witness the solstice as Native Americans would have 1,000 years ago, at Woodhenge on June 23.
Woodhenge is a calendar of posts lined up with the rising sun at certain times of the year, like on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. There are as many of five of these calendars at Cahokia built over a period of 20 years between A.D. 900-1100.
“The most spectacular sunrise occurs at the equinoxes, when the sun rises due east. The post marking these sunrises aligns with the front of Monks Mound, where the leader resided, and it looks as though Monks Mound gives birth to the sun,” says CahokiaMounds.org.
There won’t be any rituals or ceremonies held at the June 23 event, but visitors will stand in the very place the Mississipian people once stood to watch the sun rise over Monks Mound.
Participants should arrive by 5:20 a.m. to listen to an archaeologist explain the function and discovery of Woodhenge.
Visitors should dress appropriately for the weather and bring insect repellent. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park is in Collinsville, Illinois, just eight miles from downtown St. Louis.
Gary A. Becker/astronomy.org
The third Woodhenge in the present-day.