Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point

Posted: April 9, 2015    Categories: Daily Photo, World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #294: Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point

Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point: My 294th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point:

Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point owes its name to a 19th-century plantation close to the site, which is in the Lower Mississippi Valley on a slightly elevated and narrow landform. The complex comprises five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges separated by shallow depressions and a central plaza. It was created and used for residential and ceremonial purposes by a society of hunter-fisher-gatherers between 3700 and 3100 BP. It is a remarkable achievement in earthen construction in North America that was unsurpassed for at least 2,000 years.

Poverty Point is a Louisiana State Historic Site and (as of the time of writing) the United States’ most recent world heritage site.

Poverty Point is an important site in the development of early civilization in North America, however, like the Cahokia Mounds world heritage site in Illinois, it is not very photogenic. The site consists of several earthen semicircles, most of which have been plowed or eroded to a point where you can barely notice they are there. The primary remaining structure is a large mound which today simply looks like a grass covered hill.

There is evidence of human settlement at Poverty Point dating back 3,500 years, making it one of the oldest known settlements north of Mexico.

Poverty Point is located in northeast Louisiana and isn’t really next to any major cities. The closest major airport would probably be Shreveport which is about a three-hour drive.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 16, 2017 @ 6:36 pm

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