Archaeological research has shown that four of the posts were at the cardinal locations of north, south, east and west, the eastern and western posts marking the position of the equinox sunrise and sunsets.
The placement of the two mounds at the location and the directions in which they are oriented correspond to several of the solstice marking posts.
Besides their celestial marking functions, the woodhenges also carried religious and ritual meaning that is reflected in their stylized depiction as a Cross in Circle Motif on ceremonial beakers connected with black drink ceremonialism.
One prominent example has markers added to the winter sunrise and sunset positions.
Mound 72 is a ridgetop mound, one of only six recorded at the Cahokia site.
Unlike the other ridgetop mounds which are aligned east/west and north/south (as are most other features at the large site), Mound 72 is aligned 30 degrees off the east/west line.
This alignment is the same as the summer solstice sunrise/winter solstice sunset line for this latitude.
Near the end of the late Emergent Mississippian Edelhardt Phase or the beginning of the early Mississippian Lohmann Phase (1000-1050 CE) two small platform mounds were constructed around several of the woodhenge posts, one of them the position marking the summer solstice sunrise position.
The beginnings of the mounds were the interment of several elite personages oriented to the summer solstice sunrise post.
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