Most of the Poverty Point people
lived in small villages and camps. The
size of these camps ranged anywhere from less than an acre to more than 100
acres with the smaller camps housing only a few families and the larger ones
housing many. It is believed that some
several thousand people lived at the Poverty Point site although some
archeologists believe it was only temporarily occupied area used only for
ceremonies and trade fairs. There were
also other differences between different villages and camps. For one, some of the camps had artificial
mounds built in them. Although most
camps had only one of these C-shaped mounds, some had up to eight of the
constructions. In the larger sites, the
mounds were significantly bigger.
Archeologists have not been able to determine the exact use of the
mounds. They resemble tombs used by
later cultures, but no burials have been found in them except at the Poverty
Point site, although this was only a fragment of a human bone.
Poverty Point site was located in the Mason Ridge-Upper Tensas Basin and there
were plenty of other sites within a 25-mile radius of this site. All of these sites have many more artifacts
typical of Poverty Point culture than sites further away as the result of being
so close to Poverty Point. Because of
this the Poverty Point site is very important to its community and the other
sites of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
Samuel Lockett first discovered the site in the year 1873. However, it was excavation of the site by
James Ford and Stuart Neitzel in the 1950’s that revealed what was really
special about the Poverty Point site.
Photos from above the site showed that the site was enclosed by an
earthen structure that was so large it could not be detected from the
ground. The layout and size of the
structure indicates that it was probably built according to some large
blueprint and required a massive engineering feat. And the multitude of artifacts found in the area indicated that
the Poverty Point site had a very large population and attracted many