Aerial photo of the site's ridges.

The Ridges

     Poverty Point's C-shaped earthen ridges are truly unique. Nothing else like them existed in the ancient world. There are six ridges in total. Each ridge is divided by four aisles that extend from the plaza. The highest ridge stands over 6 feet tall. The lowest ridges, to the south, are less than 1 foot tall. American Indians built some of these ridges in stages and others all at once.

 

     Making and maintaining the site's ridges would have been an ongoing activity. Many people wonder if the site's ridges once formed a complete oval, but there were never any ridges where Bayou Ma├žon now flows. The ridges' unusual C-shape was part of the site's original design.

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     Researchers have found more artifacts and earth ovens on the ridges than anywhere else. So even though they have not found any house remains there, this leads them to think that people lived on the ridges. The sheer quantity and kinds of artifacts lead archaeologists to think that there were lots of people living there year-round, probably hundreds of people, maybe more.

 

     Based on the patterns and sizes of postholes found on the ridges, archaeologists think the houses may have been built somewhat haphazardly, with a mix of thin poles and cane forming the framework. Researchers have found daub, which is mud that once covered the outside of the houses. The roofs may have been hides, thatch, or palmetto fronds.

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