Cahokia Mounds to expand (Illinois)

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For years, Cahokia Mounds' administrators longed to snatch up more property near the ruins of the prehistoric city but lacked the money to do it, fearing all the while that artifacts on the coveted private land could be forever lost to development.

Their concerns eased a bit Thursday, when the state finally released funds -- $837,800 -- earmarked years ago for expanding the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, now spanning 2,200 acres of the 4,000 that comprised the once-thriving city of up to 20,000 American Indians.

"We're so proud of Cahokia," Bob Coomer, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's director, said during a news conference at the historic site just west of this St. Louis suburb. Land-acquistion "funds have been extremely difficult to come by; we feel very fortunate to get these funds at this time."

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