Poverty Point State Historic Site

Poverty Point State Historic Site is part of the Tentative List in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the State Party


Year Decision Comments
2008 Tentative list Submitted as tentative site by State Party


Reviews

Amy Martin (USA):
The oldest publicly-accessible evidence of ceremonial culture in North America -- and the largest earthwork in the world (I think) - and it's NOT a World Heritage Site? That simply does not make sense. Unlike most other earthwork sites, this one still sites in a landscape much like it did at it's peak, enabling visitors imaginations to form an idea of life for these moundbuilders. Not only is the main site still mostly intact, the outlying mounds are as well -- another rarity among earthworks. Group it with the even more ancient nearby Watson Brake, in university hands, and the mounds on the Frenchman's Bend Golf Course, and created is a prime example of the roots of humanity in North America.
Date posted: January 2011
ted sojka (USA):
Poverty Point , LA

Circles

This city predates agriculture on the continent, and is located in Louisiana. The circular design is functional in many ways. There are six semi circular mounds that remain in concentric rings. The avenues that cut through the rings out of the city correspond to setting points of the sun on solstice days. Houses were constructed on the circular mounds in rows. No evidence of maize has ever been found on the site which covers hundreds of acres.

As many as ten thousand people may have gathered here during the Summers. The erosion has taken away some of the structure over thousands of years of flooding. They had clay, little stone, and very little wood to use in that area at the time of habitation.

The huge mound is seven stories high and is in the shape of a bird. There was little fire wood in the area, and clay briquets were heated in central fires and carried in clay pots to floor recesses in homes, and were used for cooking. Thousands of these decorated clay pieces, adorned with clan symbols are exhibited at the site in a museum on site. I saw dozens made in the shape of little owls. Red hot they would have held heat for a long time.

Ted Sojka
Art Educators of iowa
PS We arrived on a day when the temperature was near 95 degrees and the humidity somewhere between sweat and swimming. I crossed the six ridges of semi circular mounds and bounded up the almost seven story bird mound to take in as much as I could in one view. I had read about the site for years, and it was greater than I had imagined.

The museum was good but not many took the walking tour that day. The site is so large it was not even recognized as all one site until satellite imagery showed its real size.
Date posted: January 2011

Have you been to Poverty Point State Historic Site? Share your experiences!

Add your own review