When you think of massive architectural wonders built by ancient civilizations, you probably think of the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Mayan temples in Central America.
Louisiana has its own monument to ancient ingenuity. Poverty Point National Monument covers 400 acres along the Mississippi River where a sophisticated civilization left behind a colossal mystery.
Sometime between 1650 and 700 B.C., the people living in this part of northeastern Louisiana built a series of huge earthworks rising five feet in the air. The mounds are divided into six concentric rows further separated into six discrete sections. The formation extends for three quarters of a mile.
What purpose did the ridges serve? Were they the foundations of larger structures?
Archaeological evidence suggests that if people lived here, they also traveled extensively. Remains of vessels made from Appalachian soapstone and spearheads crafted from Ozark stone have been found at the site.
One thing is clear: Building these mounds required extraordinary effort and skill. Dirt was carried in from miles away and piled according to a precise architectural blueprint.
Explore the mystery of Poverty Point National Historic Monument through museum exhibits and a site tour.