Winter Solstice Sunrise observance December 23, unique holiday gift opportunities at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
COLLINSVILLE - Commemorate the start of winter or take advantage of unique gift ideas during the last few days before the holidays at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois.
The Winter Solstice Sunrise will be observed at Cahokia Mounds on Sunday, December 23 at 7 a.m. Visitors should gather at the reconstructed Woodhenge, which is about one-half mile west of Monks Mound (the largest mound), on Collinsville Road. While waiting for the sun to rise, an archaeologist will explain how the Woodhenges were discovered, how they function, and what we know about them and the Mississippian culture that built them. There will be no rituals or ceremonies performed out of respect to the Indian cultures of the present and the past. The observances of the solstice and equinox sunrises are held throughout the year on the Sunday morning closest to the actual dates so that more people are able to attend and learn about these ancient sun calendars that date to from 1100 - 1200 A.D. The present Woodhenge was reconstructed in the original location in 1985, following several years of excavations that revealed the locations of the large posts.
For unique holiday gifts, consider shopping in the Museum Gift Shop at Cahokia Mounds. The shop carries an extensive collection of Indian-made jewelry, baskets, kachinas, drums, rugs, and pottery. They also have an excellent selection of books on archaeology and American Indians, as well as posters, CDs and DVDs, postcards, and souvenir items.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is just eight miles from downtown St. Louis in Collinsville, Illinois off Interstates 55/70 (exit 6) and 255 (exit 24) on Collinsville Road. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. There is no admission charge but a donation of $2 for adults and $1 for children is suggested. For more information or a calendar of events, call (618) 346-5160 or visit www.cahokiamounds.com.