Poverty Point National Monument - History
By Sarah Lane
Jan 26, 2005, 09:48

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Poverty Point National Monument - Louisiana

In a quiet location in north-eastern Louisiana lives the remnants of an extremely civilized culture from as far back as the first and second millennia B.C. Here you’ll find some of the largest prehistoric earthworks anywhere in North America. The center of this monument overlooks the Mississippi River flood plain. You’ll find five aisles and six sections of ridges which form a partial octagon. The diameter of the outermost ridges measures three-quarters of a mile. The central section has six rows of concentric ridges. There is some evidence that these ridges served as foundations for dwellings but there are no surviving structures.

To the west of these ridges you’ll find earthen mounds and one in particular that is shaped like a bird. Poverty Point Mound, as it is named, is 700 feet by 640 feet at the base, and about 70 feet high! Another interesting mound lies to the north and was constructed over a bed of ash and burnt bone fragments. Mound “B” is a 20-foot high conical mound. To construct these massive earthworks it would have taken about five million hours!

These earthworks dated between 1700 and 700 B.C. are a significant piece of history. So much so that this 400 acre site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 by the Department of the Interior. Between April and September visitors have access to an interpretive museum, special events, and guided tours.

Source: National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior

© Copyright Jan 26, 2005 by classbrain.com

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