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Poverty Point Mound A was built in 90 Days

New research at the massive mounds site of Poverty Point in Louisiana offers evidence that the massive work of building the mounds at Poverty Point took only 90 days. This shows that hunter-gatherers, the population at the time, at 1200 BC, were more sophisticated and organized that was thought before. A 10 year study at Mound A at Poverty Point has shown no evidence of rainfall or erosion during its construction. This area always had heavy rainfall and there is no evidence of a huge drought there either. And Mound A covers 538,000 square feet at its base and is 72 feet high. Eight million bushels of soil had to be brought to bear to build the mound. And they were built with no draft animals, wheelbarrows, sophisticated tools. So they were built with a bucket brigade passing soil in baskets or sacks. It would have necessitated 3000 laborers and their family to build such a mound.

A hunter-gatherer band is large at 25-30 people, but somehow, these hunter-gatherers brought 10,000 people to work for this construction. And it fed these people and built the mound in 90 days. The site was cleared by burning, and then layers of soils were added layer by layer. Most of the earthen mounds built by others elsewhere took generations. The fabric of hunter-gatherer society was more complex and stronger than we have believed.

T.R. Kidder, PhD, professor and chair of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and Anthony Ortmann, PhD, assistant professor of geosciences at Murray State University in Kentucky have published their research in the journal Geo-archaeology.

The Washington University at St. Louis News posts the story, with photos.

Time to get out your hiking shoes!

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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