Poverty Point is a huge complex of 6 mounds, 6 semicircular ridges, and a plaza. The largest mound is about 70 feet tall and more than 700 by 640 feet at is base. Some archaeologist believe it is an effigy mound, built in the shape of a bird. The function of the mounds is unknown, but they were not used for burials. The people of Poverty Point did not practice agriculture; they were fisher-hunter-gatherers. The outermost ridge is .75 mile in diameter, and all of the ridges laid end-to-end would stretch 7.5 miles. The ridges served as living surfaces; archaeologist have found post holes, pits, hearths, earth ovens, and domestic debris in and on them. Construction of all the earthen mounds and ridges required about 981,000 cubic yards of dirt. Builders filled in low areas and gullies to create the level 35-acre plaza, but how much dirt was required is unknown.
Dated between 1700 and 1100 B.C., this site of more than 400 acres is unique among archaeological sites on this continent. In 1962, Poverty Point was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The site also became a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2010. Check out Poverty Point's Facebook page.
Ancient American hunter-gatherers who lived in a sophisticated community.
Head mound of the giant bird.