Poverty Point is one of the largest, most ancient, and most complex earthen mound constructions in the Western Hemisphere. Made up of six concentric earthen ridges, six mounds, a central plaza, and associated borrow areas spread across 163 hectares in northeastern Louisiana – Poverty Point was constructed by populations who hunted, gathered and fished between 3,700 and 3,100 years ago, and is one of the earliest monumental sites in North America. Deemed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014, Poverty Point exemplifies many aspects of public archaeology in the United States – it is a place of both local and global heritage, it looms large within the study of Native Americans in the region, and it is considered socially, politically, and cosmologically powerful by its many publics.
For these reasons, MAPA is excited to begin fieldwork at Poverty Point this coming year. In conjunction with Mississippi State University, University of Louisiana at Monroe, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, faculty at Binghamton University, including Matthew Sanger and Carl Lipo, have developed field research at Poverty Point and its surroundings slated to begin in Summer 2017.
While most attention at Poverty Point has been focused on its mound structures, relatively limited research has been conducted in the surrounding landscape. Our planned research is designed to place Poverty Point into a broader framework by measuring how Poverty Point peoples utilized the local environment and surrounding areas. Using drone-based imaging and mapping, near-surface geophysics, and traditional excavations – our research will investigate the impact of Poverty Point on neighboring locales.
There are ample opportunities for student involvement in this research, including a field school whose dates have yet to be decided, but will be late May to early July, 2017. Spanning 6 weeks, the field school will introduce students to a range of archaeological technologies and methods and will be an opportunity to be trained using cutting-edge technology and proven field techniques at one of the most important sites in the Americas.
Anyone interested in learning more about this research or wanting to take part – please contact Matthew Sanger at firstname.lastname@example.org