Mound Types

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site1982

UNESCO World Heritage

UNESCO World Heritage

The most dramatic monument of the Mississippian Culture were the mounds. There were about 120 mounds on the pre-Columbian landscape at Cahokia Mounds, about 80 remain today. Mississippian mounds fall into three categories, flat-topped pyramids called temple or platform mounds; conical mounds; and linear ridgetop mounds which are unique to the Cahokia area. Platform mounds, the most numerous, ranged in height from a few feet to 100 feet and elevated buildings and people above activities of everyday life. Conical mounds were sometimes paired with platform mounds. Few investigations have been made on conical mounds, but it is believed they are part of a mortuary complex. The six ridgetop mounds are the most mysterious since their function is not obvious. However, it seems four are some type of marker for the strategic layout of the site, and several revealed ritual burials.


  • Title: Mound Types
  • Creator: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
  • Date Created: 1982
  • Location Created: United States of America
  • Rights: Photo courtesy CMSHS
  • Location: United States of America
  • Inscription Criteria: Criteria: (iii)(iv)
  • Date of Inscription: 1982
  • Category of Site: Cultural site

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