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updated: 7/28/2014 8:57 AM

Cahokia Mounds excavators make interesting find

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Associated Press

COLLINSVILLE -- Experts say student archaeologists excavating the Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois have made an interesting find that could reveal information about Native American religious beliefs.

The students, from the University of Bologna in Italy, found a bundle of whelk shells and bird bones tied together.

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"Most of what we find are fragments of pottery shards and little bits of arrow points and things like that," Lori Belknap, the executive director of the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society, told the Southern Illinoisan .

But Belknap said this discovery "was actually a bundle, a sack, with things laid in there in a very specific order related to their cosmological view, that's a pretty significant find."

Belknap shared the discovery Saturday at the Mississippian Conference at the historic site in Collinsville.

"It's just not normally something we find out here," Belknap said. "We're not even sure it is a bundle, we're just preliminarily calling it that right now. But looking at the collection of things in that area, the fact it was tied, if it were in any kind of bag it would have deteriorated. There are two toggles that look like it was tied in some sort of way representing something just by the way they are laid. Once they do the analysis, it will tell us so much about the culture."

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