A crowd will gather in Collinsville today to welcome winter. The place will be Woodhenge, a circle of wooden posts at Cahokia Mounds, where the Mississippian culture of 1,000 years ago observed the sunrise as far south in the sky as it would be, marking the winter solstice.
Archaeologist Bill Iseminger will lead the festivities on Sunday. “What we do is I gather people at the center of the reconstructed circle and talk for about 20 minutes about how we discovered it, how it works, what we know about it and how it relates to what else was going on here at the Cahokia site,” he said.
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The Native Americans at Cahokia were observing the location of the sun at sunrise, whereas we are concerned with the amount of daylight. Sunday is the year’s shortest day. Monday will have more daylight by about two seconds.
The event begins at 7 a.m. Sunday. Sunrise will be at 7:14. Iseminger says the crowd varies from 30 to 100, depending on the weather and the day of the week on which the solstice occurs