Monday, April 13, 2009


I visited this site several years ago. T shaped? That's not what we were told and most books see this mound as an octagon. It's enormous. But here's the latest on P

About 3,300 years ago, a group of archaic period Native Americans
living in what is now northeast Louisiana (USA) decided to build a
great mound. Ninety days after the project was begun by the Stone Age
hunters and gatherers, the T-shaped, earthen mound - 70 feet high,
1,000 feet long in one direction and 700 feet long in the other - was
The site is known today as 'Poverty Point,' a name given in the
18th century by an owner of the property. On Friday, T. R. Kidder,
chair of the anthropology department at Washington University in St.
Louis, told the University of Alabama Anthropology Club it is one of
the most mysterious sites in the country. "It is the second-largest
earthen mound in all of North America, second only to one in
Illinois," he said, in a lecture titled 'The Poverty Point Paradox.'
Like Moundville in Hale County, where a large population of
Native Americans constructed several mounds about 900 years ago,
Poverty Point was one of the larger organized communities of its day,
Kidder said. "It was probably the largest hunter-gatherer community in
all of North America, say north of Mexico," Kidder said. "But that was
a very simple time of very little complexity - it was a literally a
'stone age' society - but all of a sudden and in literally a month and
a half, they have organized themselves and built this great mound."
Kidder said evidence shows that at the time there were between
1,000 and 2,000 people living in the community where the mound was
constructed, "Which means that to accomplish what they did in such a
short period of time, they had to recruit workers from all over the
Southeast. The mound took the equivalent of 31,000 modern dump trucks
of dirt to build. That's a lot of work by a lot of people. That is
another paradox - how did they get all this organized and completed in
only 90 days?"
Kidder said the time it took to build the mound was established
by archaeological methods that showed no erosion between the layers in
the dirt. He said one theory about the location of the mound is that
it covers what was a low-lying swamp. "We know swamps were associated
with the underworld and were to be avoided," he said. "And at the base
of the mound is fine silt we believe was put there to seal off that
underworld. But there are a lot of swamps and there were a lot of
archaic Native Americans who didn't bother to build mounds. There is
also no evidence that anything was ever built on it, as you find in
Moundville, with the various ceremonial structures and houses for the
chiefs - these people had no chiefs."
The Native Americans who lived in the area flourished for more
than 1,000 years, Kidder said. "Then, shortly after the mound was
built, there was dramatic climate change in the Southeast, with much
flooding, which drove the hunters and gatherers who had been there so
long away for good," Kidder said. "All that was left was the mound."


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