There’s a new way to explore an ancient Illinois place.
Visitors to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site can try to experience it in “augmented reality” or AR, to see the Grand Plaza as it was 1,000 years ago, the stockade as it stood. formerly and the exterior and interior of the temple that once stood atop the Monks’ Mound.
Cahokia Mounds was the central hub and largest city built by the Mississippian culture of the Native Americans. The site has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Illinois State Historic Site, and World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
At its peak, Cahokia stretched over six square miles and was home to 10,000 to 20,000 people. Located near the Mississippi River, Cahokia was a hub of commerce and a site of agricultural production.
There were 120 mounds in Cahokia, including the largest, Monks Mound. The Mississippians built them between AD 900 and AD 1400, according to archaeologists.
The unveiling of the augmented reality tour comes as there is a new push to make the site part of the federal system of national parks.
US Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday asking him to integrate Cahokia Mounds into the national park system.
In 2016, a study found that Cahokia Mounds met all four criteria: importance, relevance, feasibility and necessity of running the National Park Service.
“We are writing to encourage you to use your authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site as a unit of the national parks system,” Duckworth and Durbin wrote in the letter. in Biden. “We support the uplifting, protection and sharing of this important archaeological and cultural resource that represents the people and landscapes that were once one of the first American cities in the Western Hemisphere.”
In April, Durbin introduced the Cahokia Mounds Mississippian Culture National Historic Park Act to change the current designation from a national historic monument to a national historic park. The move would add protections to the ancient mounds that straddle the counties of St. Clair and Madison in southwest Illinois.
Visitors can experience the site in augmented reality by downloading the app for $ 4.99 on their Apple device, or they can rent an iPad for $ 15 from the site. The developers spent five years creating the new app that lets visitors step back and experience Cahokia as it once was.
“Once the app is downloaded to your device, visit Cahokia Mounds and start your tour at the Monks Mound parking lot where the first ‘Waypoint’ is located,” Lori Belknap, site manager for Cahokia Mounds, said in a statement from hurry.
“These waypoints are unique images mounted on concrete blocks and will launch the application when scanned.”
The Cahokia AR Tour app was developed and produced by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society and Schwartz and Associates Creative of St. Louis and was funded by two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.