Cahokia was an enormous indigenous city of the Mississippean Culture, a mound-building society, lasting roughly 600 - 1400 AD. Eighty of the original mounds are still present, ranging from short inclines, to "Monk's Mound," which covers over six acres, and rises to a height of 100 feet. All the mounds were built by hand, bucket of earth by bucket of earth. Check out the Wikipedia Page for more info. The mounds were a sight to see, and one could spend hours in the interpretive center learning about this remarkable prehistoric culture.
Monk's Mound from the east.
From the southeast.
Facing south from Monk's Mound, with a view of another, smaller mound across the road.
View of Downtown St. Louis, from the top of Monk's Mound.
Refineries of some sort, to the northwest.
Reproduction of Cahokian woodpecker artwork.
After Cahokia, I drove back into Missouri, heading north through Hannibal towards Iowa City. At the Iowa border, I decided to take a detour to Keokuk, another town I'd long gazed at on maps without ever visiting. It was a beautiful river town which had obviously seen better days. I was too sad to take pictures, and anyhow, I still had a couple hours till Iowa City.
View from my room at the Hotel Vetro, the nicest place I've ever slept.
James Sturm, Felix de la Concha, and John P. at a fancy dinner Tuesday night. Photo by Phoebe Gloeckner.
I was in town for the University of Iowa's "Comics, Creativity, and Culture Symposium," a four-day look at comics, featuring panels, presentations, workshops, and an amazing gallery show.
Sturm's hand, Felix, JP, conference organizers Corey Creekmur and Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, Jessica Abel; Photo by Phoebe G.
With Luis Humberto Crosthwaite; Photo by Phoebs.
Rachel Marie-Crane Williams opens the conference Wednesday morning.
"Comics and Pedagogy" panel, on which I learned how to pronounce the word "pedagogy." L-R: Jessica Abel, James Sturm, John P. Photo by Peggy Burns.
Da Bears; (Conference organizer Ana Merino adjusts her glasses.) Photo by Phoebe Gloeckner.
Friday night, just before I had to leave for Pittsburgh, I got to meet two of my biggest comics inspirations for the first time: Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. Yes, I gushed. (Photo by Peggy Burns)
I left Iowa City at 5 PM Friday and started driving east. I had to be in Pittsburgh (667 miles away) by 10 AM. I made it.