Mysteries old and new (Mar. 22)

March 21, 2009

Cahokia Mounds, the Illinois State Historic Site just across the river in Collinsville, fascinates me — on the one hand, the mounds are so obvious and so physically solid, yet on the other, so much of the civilization is shrouded in mystery. The boys are a little young yet to appreciate the interpretive center as much as I do, and consequently I tend to visit it most often with out-of-town visitors. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how many teens get into the site (though it’s also true that some of the kids in my mom’s high school Spanish club were through the exhibits in two seconds flat!). I especially like the movie documenting what’s known (and unknown) about the site.

Cahokia attracts a diverse set of people, including archaeologists, Native American artisans and atlatl enthusiasts, to name a few. This Sunday’s lecture (March 22) will please both art lovers and history buffs, as Matthew H. Robb from the Saint Louis Art Museum will be talking about his research at Mexico’s largest ancient site, Teotihuacan, which had trade ties and perhaps shared cultural elements with Cahokia. In “City of Fire: Teotihuacan, Urban Planning and Social Identity,” he’ll share his interpretation of sculpture from domestic contexts and what it might have meant for civic life. The free talk is at 2 p.m.; visit the homepage for details.

Meanwhile, a mystery more in line with my kids’ intellectual level will unfold in downtown St. Louis tomorrow (March 22) at the new location of Left Bank Books. “What Really Happened to Humpty” is a private investigator picture book featuring Joe Dumpty. The local author, Jeanie Franz Ransom, will be reading it as part of the store’s grand opening festivities at 2 p.m.  She’ll also be appearing to promote her newest title in St. Charles on April 4 and Webster Groves on April 18.

For details on the new LBB store and its grand opening festivities today and tomorrow, visit its homepage.


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