A Trip To This Little Known Ancient Ruin In Louisiana Is Truly One In A Million
Did you know that Louisiana is home to a World Heritage Site? Built 3,000 years ago, this incredible series of earthworks are still a bit of a mystery. New clues about the lives of these early inhabitants are constantly being uncovered, so it’s worth your while to pay the site a visit. Let’s take a closer look at Poverty Point and learn a little about the history of this fascinating location.
Centuries ago, long before Louisiana was even a state or had any type of Western influence, Native Americans were building massive earthworks that you simply need to see to believe.
Poverty Point was built between 1700 and 1100 B.C., during the Late Archaic period. It’s estimated that these earthworks we built over a 600 year period, or roughly 25 generations. These monuments are considered to have been the tallest of their kind for over 2,000 years.
The 402-acre attraction is one of the largest and most complex sites from the Late Archaic period in North America.
Bit by bit, this community shaped nearly two million cubic yards of soil by hand into truly impressive earthworks that include a towering 72-foot-tall mound surrounded by massive concentric half-circles.
As the original inhabitants left no written word of their day-to-day lives, historians and archaeologists can only speculate as to what these earthen monuments were used for.
Using artifacts that have been uncovered, they’ve been able to determine that the site was most likely a ceremonial center, a trading hub, and a home to hundreds of people. Excavations have revealed post molds, created by now-decomposed wooden posts, most likely the remains of houses and other structures.
Around 1100 B.C., Poverty Point was abandoned.
It’s still a mystery as to why it was abandoned, but another Native American group came along around 700 A.D. and built another mound, but the site was largely abandoned until its rediscovery in the 1800s.
As you walk around, you’ll get to see the different mounts and ridges that were once much taller.
There's a 2.6-mile hiking trail that will take you around the mounds and Bayou Macon.
The views of the bayou are quite scenic and the waterway likely played a major role in Poverty Point culture.
Historians and archaeologists have found the remains of local fish and alligator, suggesting they used the bayou as a source of food, but they’ve also determined that they used the waterway as a mode of transportation of foods. Over 70 tons of rocks and minerals sourced from locations up to 800 miles away were brought to Poverty Point, suggesting this lazy little bayou had a much larger role thousands of years ago.
In the museum, you’ll learn all about the artifacts that have been uncovered.
From weapons to cooking utensils, archaeologists are constantly uncovering more clues to piece together this ancient community’s lives.
In 1962, the government designated Poverty Point a National Historic Landmark.
In 2013, the site was named a World Heritage Site, joining the ranks of only three other archaeological sites in the country with this distinction.
Poverty Point is located at 6859 LA Hwy. 577, Pioneer, LA 71266. Here’s a handy
map to help you find your way:
For more information about the Poverty Point World Heritage Site, visit its website
here and follow along on its Facebook page here.
Have you ever visited Poverty Point? Let us know in the comments below!
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