Advocates push to list Louisiana's Poverty Point as World
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"It was the New York of its time."
So says archaeologist
about the once teeming community at
She believes the United Nations should designate Poverty
Point as a UNESCO
[United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization] Heritage Site.
"This is a big project. It should be listed. But
its listing will also put it in good company with
Stonehenge, the Great Wall, the pyramids and bring in
the oldest communities in the United States, Poverty Point was in its heyday in
1700 B.C. Native Americans lived there as hunters and
gatherers more than 500 years before the
Trojan War, 300 years before King Tut became pharaoh, and about the same time that
Hebrews followed Abraham's great-grandson into Egypt.
After UNESCO experts study and verify the information, the
Poverty Point site will be submitted to UNESCO for voting.
If all goes according to plan, it could become a UNESCO
Heritage Site by June 2014.
Poverty Point was rediscovered in
the 1950s when
archaeologist James Ford noticed earthworks in an aerial
The photo showed a plaza, several mounds, distinct ridges
and a road.
far, archaeologists have only excavated about 2% of the
Poverty Point site. They've learned it was a major hub for
Native Americans and the area was incredibly rich in
wildlife, fish, nuts and other foods.
What they don't know is exactly
who lived there, what is was called, what was traded and why
it was built in the swamp. The soil is very acidic, so
not a single human bone has been found. Even without this
information, Native Americans in and around Louisiana
believe they have a deep connection to these natives.
"Most ... refer to those Native Americans who would
have lived at Poverty Point as their ancestors," Hamilton
UNESCO Heritage Sites
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