|A Shawnee National Forest Overlook.|
The massive stone wall was at one time 285 feet long, six feet high, and nine feet thick on 1.4 acres of land. The appearance of a “stone fort” or stone wall located in Giant City State Park, which is part of the Shawnee National Forest, sits atop a sloped ridge
Most of these sites were not habitation sites (villages) in the usual sense. There was only a modest amount of artifacts, which is common among places of sporadic use for short periods of time. Debris found on this site includes sherds of grit or grog tempered cord-marked pottery and stone tools, like projectile points. Many Late Woodland tribes lived in large, intensively occupied villages located near major rivers and streams such as Cahokia and East St. Louis. They had a mixed economy of hunting, gathering, and cultivated a series of native plants like, barley, sumpweed, maygrass, and squash.
The original wall was dismantled by European settlers, who used the stones in order to build their own structures; the stone base is all that remains of the original wall. It was reconstructed in 1934 by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) workforce gathered the scattered stone and rebuilt the wall in its original location, but has since fallen into ruins again.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.