Poverty Point Earthworks: Evolutionary Milestones of the Americas »»»Published: October 26, 2009

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This documentary produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting may change some people’s ideas about world history.

Poverty Point Earthworks: Evolutionary Milestones of the Americas examines the site now called Poverty Point State Historic Site in northeastern Louisiana. The archaeological artifacts discovered at Poverty Point provide evidence of a highly developed ancient American culture that inhabited the lower Mississippi delta between 1750 and 1350 BC. This site includes one of the largest native constructions in eastern North America and the earthworks are the oldest of their size in the Western Hemisphere.

In the 1840s, Jacob Walter, an explorer traveling through the area looking for lead ore, first reported the presence of Native American artifacts on the Poverty Point site. However, the true significance and magnitude of the find was not discovered until the 1950s when an old aerial photograph revealed the incredible size of the earthworks at the site.

By examining the artifacts uncovered at the site, archaeologists determined that the site had been abandoned 3,300 years ago and the society of hunter-gatherers was large and sophisticated. Scientists estimate that the construction of the massive earthworks at the site took millions of hours of labor to complete.

Funding for this program came from the Louisiana Office of State Parks.

All mounds on public land are protected from digging and artifact collecting. Access to all sites on private property is completely under the control of the landowner, and trespassing is forbidden by law. Please help us, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Division of Archaeology, and the people of Louisiana, in working together to help preserve and protect the nationally significant mounds of our state.

  

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