Top Site FAQs

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What American Indian tribe(s) built Poverty Point?


To date, archaeologists have not found anything that links the site to a specific tribe or tribes. Proving that a tribe has a direct cultural link to Poverty Point would be very difficult because culture changes over time. Sometimes, pottery styles, folklore, or other clues can make these links clear. Yet, rarely, if ever, are those links to the past still clear after more than 3,000 years!


Q2. Why did American Indians build the mounds at Poverty Point?


We do not know. Archaeologists think that American Indians built mounds for many reasons. One reason was to mark important places. This could be where a notable event happened, where an important person lived, or it could be a sacred space. They may have also built the mounds for religious and/or civic ceremonies.


Q3. Have there ever been any burials found at Poverty Point?


To date, archaeologists have not found any American Indian burials at the site. The only known graves on the site are those of historic settlers and slaves.


Q4. What kind of religion did the American Indians of Poverty Point practice?


We do not know. Many historic tribes have clans, often named after an animal (bear clan, deer clan, etc.). Each clan has its own animal and its own sacred duties (performing rituals, healing, hunting, etc.). Membership in these clans may have been based on someone's gender, ancestry, or something else. Perhaps the people of Poverty Point had similar beliefs.


Q5. Why did the American Indians who built Poverty Point use spears and darts instead of bows and arrows?


Simply put, the bow and arrow had not been adopted in North America yet. In fact, the bow and arrow was not widely used in the southeastern U.S. until around A.D. 700. Spears and darts served the needs of the people who lived at Poverty Point just fine.


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