A sprawling Native American metropolis which lay hidden beneath a modern city for a millennium has been uncovered.
Archaeologists digging in preparation for the Mississippi River spanning bridge – which will connect Missouri and Illinois – discovered the lost city of Cahokia beneath modern St Louis.
Their findings pointed to a ‘sophisticated, sprawling metropolis stretching across both sides of the Mississippi’, Andrew Lawler told the journal Science.
Sprawling: An artist impression of what the ancient Native American city of Cahokia, which was discovered beneath modern St Louis, would have looked like
Current: The 100ft Monks Mound is in the centre of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
An aerial view of Monks Mound with tiny cars visible in the background reveals the site’s scope
Cahokia, which is near Collinsville in Illinois, was initially believed to be just a ‘seasonal encampment’. But experts now think it was a location of much more significance.
Mr Lawler wrote: ‘A millennium ago, this strategic spot along the Mississippi River was an affluent neighbourhood of Native Americans, set amid the largest concentration of people and monumental architecture north of what is now Mexico.
‘Back then, hundreds of well-thatched rectangular houses, carefully aligned along the cardinal directions, stood here, overshadowed by dozens of enormous earthen mounds flanked by large ceremonial plazas.
‘Cahokia proper was the only pre-Columbian city north of the Rio Grande, and it was large even by European and Mesoamerican standards of the day, drawing immigrants from hundreds of kilometres around to live, work, and participate in mass ceremonies.’