World Landmarks Wildlife

Poverty Point Louisiana

Poverty Point National Monument of the Lower Mississippi Valley, located in northeastern Louisiana, U.S., was a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 2014 onwards.

Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point

The Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, the site of an ancient Native American city, is named for a 19th-century plantation on a somewhat raised and narrow landform near the site.

Poverty Point Louisiana Facts

Five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical hills divided by small depressions, and a central plaza make up the Poverty Point Louisiana complex. Between 3700 and 3100 BP, a population of hunter-gatherers built Poverty Point and utilized it for residential and ceremonial reasons. It is a magnificent feat in North American earthen building that has been unequaled for at least 2,000 years.

Poverty Point National Monument is located around 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Monroe. In 1962, it was recognized as a national historic landmark, and in 1988, it was declared a national monument. Poverty Point State Historic Site is governed by the state of Louisiana.

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Poverty Point State Park

Poverty Point State Park covers an area of 1.4 square miles (3.7 square km). The monument comprises some of North America’s biggest earthen mounds. From 1700 to 700 BC, a metropolis with a population of 4,000 to 5,000 people thrived at Poverty Point. The site’s primary structure is made up of six concentric earthen hills that form a horseshoe shape. The ridges are likely to have served as foundations for dwelling spaces.

Poverty Point Mounds

Poverty Point Mound, a large clay effigy of a bird in flight that is 700 feet (210 meters) wide and 70 feet (20 meters) high, is located to the west of the ridges. The people who constructed the mounds were a highly intelligent and well-adapted civilization.

Tools and containers made from materials that can be traced all the way back to the Ohio River valley indicate a well-developed trading network. Thousands of hand-built clay “stones” were discovered at the site, which were used for convection cooking.

Poverty Point National Monument

In the 1840s, Jacob Walters was a prospector for lead ore. On a farm known as Poverty Point in the extreme northeastern part of Louisiana, he discovered Native American artifacts. The earthworks at the location, however, were much too enormous to be seen from the ground.

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Samuel Lockett was the first archaeologist to report on the site in 1873. His excavations encouraged numerous more expeditions by archaeologists. The significance and enormity of Walters’ discovery were not appreciated until the 1950s. On the other hand, when an aerial shot reveals the land’s vastness and unusual layout.

Poverty Point World Heritage Site

The American Museum of Natural History’s James Ford and Stuart Neitzel discovered the shot during a routine examination. Poverty Point proved to be an earthen fortification erected on such a grand scale that it was difficult to recognize from the ground.


Poverty Point was the first archaeological site to provide scientific proof of an advanced, ancient American society. The name given to the region by the nineteenth-century owners of a historic plantation on which the artifacts were unearthed was utilized by archaeologists when they described the prehistoric site. This became the official name of the site.

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