Poverty Point World Heritage Initiative

Rivers as Roads to Poverty Point logo

The Poverty Point World Heritage Site is a remarkable 3400-year-old archaeological site in Northeast Louisiana. In addition to its monumental earthworks, the site is known for a dizzying array of artifacts made of materials that were not locally available. Indeed, tons of stone were transported over great distances by way of the Mississippi River system to this amazing locale to make into tools and ornaments. This StoryMap provides 3D models of artifacts linked to their source locations throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern U.S., with information about the materials, the artifacts, and how archaeologists know where they came from. Click the image above to begin your journey!

 

What is special about the Poverty Point site?

  • The earthworks are massive: six mounds and six C-shaped ridges surround a huge plaza. One of the mounds was built about 2,000 years after the rest. 
  • The geometric design is unique in the world and is a masterpiece of engineering.
  • The site is 3,400 years old.
  • At the time the earthworks were constructed, they were the largest in North America.
  • The site was the major political, trading and ceremonial center of its day in North America.
  • The people who built and lived at the site did not raise crops but instead lived by hunting, fishing and gathering wild food, making their accomplishments even more astounding.

 

Poverty Point State Historic Site is a World Heritage Site.

  On June 22, 2014, at the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar, Poverty Point State Historic Site was inscribed as the 1,001st property on the World Heritage List.


  What is the World Heritage program?

  • It is a program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • The World Heritage List highlights the world's most important natural wonders and cultural sites.
  • Currently the list includes 1,007 sites in 161 countries, including:
    • Cahokia Mounds (United States)
    • Machu Picchu (Peru)
    • Pyramids of Giza (Egypt)
    • Stonehenge (United Kingdom)
  • Listing is a great honor, showing the global importance of a property.
  • More information about the World Heritage program in the United States is available from the National Park Service Office of International Affairs. 

 

Poverty Point World Heritage Site Teacher Kit 

  The Poverty Point World Heritage Site traveling trunk contains real and replica artifacts, lesson plans, PowerPoints, and hands-on activities designed to engage students while teaching them about Louisiana's cultural history. Visit the Traveling Trunks Page to learn more and to reserve one for your class. 

©2021 Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism