Millstone Bluff-Southern Illinois

This past spring during a Passport in Time project I was able to check out this amazing site.  The research I did on Millstone Bluff didn’t prepare me for what I saw. As the name indicates this site is on a steep bluff with only one side being accessible.

Climbing the steep hill to the entrance of the site was a peaceful and beautiful hike. Even in the early spring (April) the trees were starting to bud and a person could see far in the distance.  I can imagine that once the foliage was in bloom that this site must have been well hidden.   There is speculation that warfare might have been prevalent in the area at the time of occupation.

Once, at the entrance of the site there are two huge boulders with steps leading to a nicely paved trail.  The first sight to see was the stone lined graves.  Further down the path you could see the indentations of the homes.  As I went around one of the curves it split into another path that led down away from the bluff a few feet which takes you to a spectacular view.  A perfect view of the valley below and the rocks on the bluff provided a canvas for rock art.  The state has placed a picture of images to find on the rocks.  However, after speaking with the regional archaeologist in the area the picture of images is incorrect.  Many images depicted in the picture are not on the stones.

Back up on the trail taking you through the settlement.  Informational signs show that their homes were constructed mainly from wood and mud with the homes being occasionally burned. Some of the artifacts found were arrow points, stone knives, polished axes, undecorated pottery and food remains.

The area has never been plowed making it a rare site to see.  When walking through the site a person feels like they are going back in time and it does not take much imagination to picture what life must have been like in 1200 CE.



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