Mound B

     Mound B is a small, conical mound, only 21 feet tall and 180 feet in diameter. American Indians started building Mound B around 1700 B.C. This makes it one of the first mounds built at the site. Later, Poverty Point people would build Mounds E and A due south of Mound B.


     In later time periods, people sometimes buried their dead in conical mounds. The people of Poverty Point did not use Mound B this way, though. In fact, it is unclear just how people used Mound B. Its builders did do an odd thing, however. They left about 100 baskets and hides full of dirt on the mound once they had reached the halfway point in the mound's construction.

     American Indians made Mound B in seven stages. First, they prepared the floor of the mound by removing the natural topsoil. Then, they built two thin layers followed by four thicker layers. Lastly, they placed a covering of earth over the top of the mound. This gave it its round shape. People may have lived on the layers of the mound as it was being built or held rituals there. Archaeologists have found possible postholes, charcoal and fire pits on some of these layers.

In the past, people often used the position of the moon, sun, and stars to get their bearings or plan events. To help with those tasks, they sometimes built mounds in relation to these objects in the sky. The people who built Poverty Point likely used the North Star to align Mounds B, E and A. The North Star (Polaris) is easy to identify, because its position stays constant, as other stars appear to circle it. Here it is seen over Mound B.

View of the night sky above Mound B with Polaris (the North Star) in the center.


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