We live in the world of pyramids
          where a pyramid is the whole world.

Monk Mound
Great Pyramid of the USA


Of all ancient civilizations in North America, human hands have built no greater earthwork than the Monks Mound near East St. Louis, IL. The Mound Builders statesmanship, ambitious projects and workforce make them of the most important cultures of World history. Monks Mound is situated about a mile from the Mississippi River, just north of East St. Louis, Illinois, in central United States.

Monk Mound, pyramid in US Monk Mound, pyramid in US Monk Mound, pyramid in US 

The expertise of the ancient engineers that built the mound is shown through a complex layering of materials to build it. Inspection of the construction sequence of Monks Mound reveals that the final size and shape was part of a highly developed plan. All carefully layered stages of construction proceeded quickly as shown by a complete absence of erosion or layers of vegetation found between layers.

The mound has dimensions of 92 feet in height, 951 feet (290 meters) long and 836 feet (255 meters) wide. Monks Mound base covers about 14.4 acres and has a volume of about 21,551,623 cubic feet (610274 cubic meters) and consists of more than 2.16 billion pounds of non-local soil types.
Other construction materials used in the mound include limestone slabs, bald cypress and red cedar posts. Use of the limestone slabs in mound construction is important as a chronological marker indicating late Archaic construction (3000 - 1000 BC).

Construction materials for Monks Mound included only colored soil that is not found in the surrounding alluvial floodplain. The location of origin of the colored soil used in the construction of Monks Mound is now being researched. Soils were likely selected for their vivid color and brought in on rafts or on foot from hundreds of miles away. The blue, red, white, black, grey, brown, and orange soils colors were layered in varying thickness and areas throughout the mound’s entire construction. Historian Rick Osmon stated “the Blue soil is very rare and is known to come from Clay County, Indiana and white soil may be gypsum powder, which is found in northern Indiana. Red and orange soils come from southern Appalachian areas.” The energy required to move 43.1 million baskets a great distance construct the mound is staggering.

The population of Illinois is currently around 13 million (2008). This means that each person that currently lives in Illinois would have to deposit 3.3 baskets of soil just to build a structure that approximates the size and weight of Monks mound. Fifty pounds carried on your back is a difficult task, and is impossible for everyone in Illinois.
A lot of time would be required to deposit a volume of 21,551,623 cubic feet that composes Monks mound. If a population of citizens lined up with baskets and deposited one basket every minute, it would take 82 years (julian) to build Monks Mound. If one basket was deposited every second, it would take 1.3658 years. If Cahokia "accepted" population estimates are correct at 20,000 people at the peak of occupation, then each person would have to carry 2155 baskets (53.9 tons) to complete the mound. The combined volume of the other mounds on the site roughly equal the volume of earth used in monks mound. That means it is safe to double these estimates to consider the entire amount of work done at the Cahokia Mounds. Now consider that thousands of mounds were built all over the country. The sheer workforce used to build these mounds is a feat that cannot be matched by any ancient culture throughout the world. All things considered, Monks Mound alone is a challenge to the seven ancient wonders of the world.

Monks Mound Tablets Monks Mound artefact Monks Mound artefact Monks Mound artefact 

A more realistic approach is working with more than one million laborers during the Chalcolithic copper age, each relaying the earthen construction materials over a highly refined tribute network in one season. Some of the colored soil types came from hundreds of miles away and were selected for their use on the mound; the colored soils were then deposited by a larger construction team over a relatively short period of time. The rate of basketload placement would be the determining factor for completion time of the mound. It could have taken as little as 1 year 4 months if one basket was deposited every second and as much as 83.5 years if one basket was deposited every minute. A three hundred year time period for the mound construction is unlikely considering the lack of erosion between layers of the mound, and the indication of a plan to construct the entire monument as it stands before it began.

Perhaps these colored layers contained elaborate earth paintings. The striking colored mound covered with colored painted images would be most appropriate for this type of structure. The paintings may have been similar Hopewell style birdman form or painted images similar to the Birdman tablet found at the site With the destructive excavation methods used, we will never know for sure if the destroyed layers contained imagery that archaeologist refer to as the “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex”.


Several other examples of Mound Earth paintings have been noted in mounds including Wickliffe Mounds and Shiloh National Military Park. This type of colored soil is also noted in Neolithic and Bronze Age earthen mounds. Colored soil is believed to represent Burial context, as stated by Mary Ann Owoc; “It is suggested that color was used by the builders of the monuments to delineate and highlight particular positions of funerary rituals, and moreover, that colour was part of a suite of symbolic attributes of the buried landscape that enabled particular interpretations of the funerary rituals to be made by the community of mourners.”

 

Formative cultures required vast amounts of energy to labor in mound construction events which was obtained by hunting wildfowl, deer and other animals. Hunting evidence equates to finding spears and projectile points. Local lithic styles have been useful in determining formative phases at Cahokia Mounds. Generally, the projectile styles equate to time periods based on the depths that they were found in excavations. Styles found in the Cahokia Mounds region include Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian. Interestingly, when quantities of projectile points are plotted by time, a trend is shown that indicates cultures flourished and collapsed at least three times throughout the Holocene.

… Mythology and Monks Mound:

Nearly none of our writers on Indian History have associated the Monks Mound with a number of legends or myths. This is due to an unfortunate belief that the thoughts of the mound builders are indiscernible and will forever be lost. Some have stated that they are of the opinion that it seems very hazardous to draw any conclusions as to the religious beliefs of the Mound Builders. However, it is revealed that creation stories, legends, and myths are abundant which can be reasonably associated with importance in the moundbuilders culture. Many Native American groups either lived at or visited Cahokia. Yet they all had similar words for it, meaning Holy place.

I suggest material evidence of "snake mountain" is seen in the crosshatched tablets found all over Monks Mound and the turtle shell found turned upside down when constructing the stairs on the first terrace of Monks Mound. The turtle shell was turned upside down and placed into a giant "midden".


Turtle Island: Monks Mound as a Turtle Effigy; Trident on left depicts death, darkness and sun symbol on right depicts sun and birth. The stylized turtle in the center with the hole in its back ties into the story of the hole in the sky through which fell the sky maiden, Nanabozho.

Many Native American myths relate to stories associated with such consecrated objects and mounds have been recorded by savants of history. In one fitting account, the sky maiden named Nanabozho fell through the hole in the sky as she was digging up a turnip. As she fell through the hole, all the water creatures that were floating on the water-covered earth saw her falling to earth. The water birds volunteered to save her by crisscrossing their long necks in this, that, and every direction to make a net. When she fell into the net, the ducks became exhausted and the turtle volunteered to let her sit on its back. Eventually, trees sprouted from the turtles back, and debris began to float up and collect around the turtle. Raven brought the eternal fire, thus its blackened color. This is how North America was formed. The sky Maiden who was digging turnups, was the head of the sky people and together with her husband the Great Sun led the earth people.


… The Cahokia Mounds site was occupied from the earliest Paleolithic and Neolithic times to European arrival, probably due to its convenient location at the confluence of major rivers. The Monks Mound is a timeless monument that will be here long after we are gone. Our culture appreciates the historic value of the Cahokia and surrounding Indian mounds. Preservation should be done to keep it in as original shape as possible, not to make it into a visually appealing shape to the Site Management of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency. As such, our posterity will be able to appreciate it for many more millennia. It is also important to consider the Wa-sho’-be Zhin-ga, or little sacred objects with stone engravings found on Tablets from Cahokia and the American bottom region. These tablets represent sacred objects that are consecrated. There are several examples of the tablets that I know of that are inscribed from the Cahokia Mounds. It is hoped that a broad iconographic study will reveal information that would otherwise be lost.

Sheller Pyramidal Stone

sheller pyramidal stone Pyramidal stone from Bosnia and Herzegovina 
A little pyramid stone was found by Bud Scheller from Mount Olive, Illinois found this around 1957 in Shoal Creek, In the Greenville-Sorento, Illinois area. The truncated pyramid was first published in the 1977 Cahokian Newsletter. As described in the referenced article, the shape of a truncated pyramid, or “flat-topped mound,” is smooth on two of the sloping sides, and the other two have cross-hatching and some unknown symbol.

NOTE: In September 2008 a very similar pyramid stone was found in Bosnia and Herzegovina near town Visoko, some miles away from the site of Archaeological Park of the Bosnian pyramids. Both stones are truncated pyramids with absolutely identical sloping sides and size. Some thousands miles from each other those pyramidal stones can be artifacts of one prehistoric civilization, which was dominated on the planet thousands years ago. (a note by world-pyramids.com)

The study of climatology during these distant times reveals that there was strong correlation of climatic events and lithic manufacturing cycles. The end of the "Younger Dryas Ice Age" corresponds with the beginning of the early archaic period (pre-pottery neolithic). The end of the early archaic period coincides with the "8.2 Kiloyear event" around 8200 years before present. An early archaic cluster of lithic manufacturing ended sharply around 6000BC, which corresponds. The "Neolithic subpuluvial" climatic event corresponds with the mid archaic decline in projectile point production. The Chalcolithic period corresponds with the beginning of the most major increase in projectile point production. This reaches its peak at the late archaic (Bronze Age). In the late Archaic, the greatest quantity of projectile points was made. Next, the climatic collapse around 536 AD is a low point of the projectile point production graph, but the "Medieval warming period" corresponds to the "Mississippian era". This indicates that climate is related to population trends of the aboriginal civilizations of Cahokia Mounds.

The Monk Mound in Illinois, USA is one of the biggest pyramid constructions in the world. We can seriously say that Monk Mound is a pyramid, which doesn’t looks like the pyramids in Egypt or in Mexico; one can see some similarities with Chinese pyramids because in both cases the pyramids were constructed from the soil. In the middle part of the USA we have local scenario for the pyramid. Exactly, the Monk Mound is a challenge to the seven ancient wonders of the world.

 

 

Text and photos by ©Vince Barrows, USA.
This article was combined by Maxim Yakovenko
All materials and photos were used after personal permission of Vince Barrows.