Poverty Point National
A (above) is still about 72 feet in height today.
The museum exhibits a wide array of ancient objects
Poverty Point is located in the lower Mississippi valley of Louisiana near
the Gulf Coast and the confluence of six major rivers. Strategically
placed on numerous trade routes, the site of Poverty Point was large and
influential. It dominated much of the surrounding region and serving
as a focus for innovation and growth. Unique in the configuration of its
earthen structures—notably concentric, semi-elliptical ridges of great
size—it had no equal in grandeur in its day. Earth-moving activities for
the shaping of the wide plaza began about 1500 B.C. and
while the construction history of the site is not well understood today,
the earthen structures were built and enlarged for hundreds of years, with
the site reaching its final plan at about 1000 B.C. The
concentric semi-ellipses abut a bluff over the Bayou Maçon and enclose an
open plaza covering an area of about 34 acres. Aisle-like openings run
between the concentric rings, which are thought to have stood over six
feet high. They may have functioned, at least partially, as living areas.
Mound A, the largest mound at the site, rises to a height of over 70 feet
and is adjacent to the eastern side of the great ridges. Mound A is
complex in plan and shape and is thought to be birdlike.
First reported in 1873, the semi-elliptical ridges of Poverty Point were
thought to be natural formations. It was only in the 1950s, when the site
was viewed from the air, that archaeologists realized they were manmade.
In 1962, Poverty Point was designated a National Historic Landmark by the
U.S. Department of the Interior and is now a National Monument
managed by the state of Louisiana.
Jackson Mound is located away from the main site
Discovering Mound E requires a short walk from the tram road into a
forested area of the park.
Poverty Point Nat'l Monument &
State Historic Site Pages:
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To Visitor Center
Official NPS website of
Poverty Point National Monument