Friday, August 17, 2012

Louisiana's great indigenous center: the Mississippi valley site called Poverty Point

Poverty Point (French: Pointe de Pauvreté) is a prehistoric earthworks of the Poverty Point culture, says

It is now a historic monument located 15.5 miles from the current Mississippi River,[2] and situated on the edge of Maçon Ridge, near the village of Epps in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.

Poverty Point comprises several earthworks and mounds built between 1650 and 700 BCE, during the Archaic period in the Americas.

The monumental construction is a group of six concentric, crescent ridge earthworks, divided by five aisles radiating from the center at the river bank. The site also has several mounds both on the outside and inside of the ring earthworks. The name "Poverty Point" came from the plantation which once surrounded the site.

The people who constructed it were hunter-gatherers rather than agriculturalists. They are a rare example of a complex hunter-gatherer society that constructed large scale monuments.

The vast majority of other prehistoric monuments, ranging from Stonehenge in England to the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt, were constructed by agricultural societies, in which crop surpluses allowed greater density of population and stratification of society.

Numerous imported items, consisting of projectile points and microliths, have been determined to have originated in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains and in the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys.[5] Other materials derived from trade are soapstone from the southern Appalachian Mountains of Alabama and Georgia,[5] and copper and galena artifacts, indicating trade with the prehistoric copper-producing tribes in the upper Great Lakes region.[2]

Changes in temperature and precipitation such as increased flooding, caused an ecological imbalance that led to abandonment of Poverty Point.