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No: Poverty Point Discovery

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  • Michael Ruggeri
    From EurekAlert Public release date: 27-Nov-2002 Contact: Andrea Lynn, Humanities & Social Sciences a-lynn@uiuc.edu 217-333-2177 University of Illinois at
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 3, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      From EurekAlert

      Public release date: 27-Nov-2002

      Contact: Andrea Lynn, Humanities & Social Sciences
      a-lynn@...
      217-333-2177
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      Non-invasive tools key to first mapping of early Louisiana
      culture Archaeology
      CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Archaeologists have hit pay dirt at Poverty
      Point, La.

      Using a variety of advanced non-intrusive instruments, an Army
      Corps of Engineers team has for the first time geophysically
      found and mapped "subsurface architecture and cultural features"
      that were constructed by the area's early residents, the Poverty
      Point Culture (about 1730 to 1350 B.C.).

      Tad Britt, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at
      Urbana-Champaign, said his team produced "very accurate maps" of
      man-made ridges and trenches just below the surface of the ground.
      They surveyed ridges 1-5 of the southwest sector of Macon Ridge,
      above the Mississippi River floodplain.

      The maps document the precise arrangement of and spacing between
      the concentric semicircular ridges and trenches. Ridges range
      from 65 to 115 feet apart, with the outermost being three-quarters
      of a mile in diameter -- all "indicative of a carefully designed
      and well-executed plan," Britt said.

      The earthworks may have been used as a marketplace, and three
      circular anomalies found on the ridges may be post holes for
      roundhouses, built at different times. "The site was occupied for
      almost 1,500 years and was continually being modified. What
      remains is a palimpsest of human occupations."

      One of the goals of the project, in addition to collecting data
      about the hidden features, was to determine which non-invasive
      instruments worked best at detecting subsurface anomalies
      "indicative of cultural features," Britt said. Magnetic field
      gradiometry and electrical resistivity proved most successful. In
      addition to Britt, the principal investigator, team members were
      Michael Hargrave and Janet Simms; all three work for the Corps'
      Engineer Research and Development Center.

      Previous non-invasive surveys by other archaeologists were
      inconclusive. Similarly, traditional excavations at the site over
      the past 100 years have failed to provide "a clear understanding
      of the nature, distribution and density of archaeological features
      such as pits, hearths, post holes and other structural remains,"
      Britt said.

      Despite the latest discoveries, the huge, 400-acre site remains
      "unique and enigmatic" -- much of the current understanding
      regarding its evolution and its inhabitants' subsistence, lifeways
      and social order "still speculative and largely based on data
      recovered from surface finds and limited test excavation."

      Nevertheless, Poverty Point is a critical archaeological site in
      the United States and a textbook case for the evolution of a
      non-agricultural, socially complex culture.

      Elsewhere during the same time period, American Indians lived "a
      much simpler lifestyle as hunter-gatherers," Britt said. "There
      are some exceptions, all in Louisiana, that predate Poverty Point
      by a couple thousand years. But they do not possess the level or
      scale of the Poverty Point site."

      Recent archaeological studies in the area indicate that the
      earliest mounds in the Americas also are in northeast Louisiana.
      Those mounds are earlier than the Olmec mounds in Mexico, he said,
      and even the Egyptian pyramids at Giza.
      ###

      Mike Ruggeri's Ancient America and Mesoamerica News and Links
      http://community.webtv.net/Topiltzin-2091/AncientAmericaand

      Copyright � AZTLAN <AZTLAN@...> 2002.
      All rights reserved.
    • Michael Ruggeri
      From EurekAlert Public release date: 27-Nov-2002 Contact: Andrea Lynn, Humanities & Social Sciences a-lynn@uiuc.edu 217-333-2177 University of Illinois at
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 3, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        From EurekAlert

        Public release date: 27-Nov-2002

        Contact: Andrea Lynn, Humanities & Social Sciences
        a-lynn@...
        217-333-2177
        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
        Non-invasive tools key to first mapping of early Louisiana
        culture Archaeology
        CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Archaeologists have hit pay dirt at Poverty
        Point, La.

        Using a variety of advanced non-intrusive instruments, an Army
        Corps of Engineers team has for the first time geophysically
        found and mapped "subsurface architecture and cultural features"
        that were constructed by the area's early residents, the Poverty
        Point Culture (about 1730 to 1350 B.C.).

        Tad Britt, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at
        Urbana-Champaign, said his team produced "very accurate maps" of
        man-made ridges and trenches just below the surface of the ground.
        They surveyed ridges 1-5 of the southwest sector of Macon Ridge,
        above the Mississippi River floodplain.

        The maps document the precise arrangement of and spacing between
        the concentric semicircular ridges and trenches. Ridges range
        from 65 to 115 feet apart, with the outermost being three-quarters
        of a mile in diameter -- all "indicative of a carefully designed
        and well-executed plan," Britt said.

        The earthworks may have been used as a marketplace, and three
        circular anomalies found on the ridges may be post holes for
        roundhouses, built at different times. "The site was occupied for
        almost 1,500 years and was continually being modified. What
        remains is a palimpsest of human occupations."

        One of the goals of the project, in addition to collecting data
        about the hidden features, was to determine which non-invasive
        instruments worked best at detecting subsurface anomalies
        "indicative of cultural features," Britt said. Magnetic field
        gradiometry and electrical resistivity proved most successful. In
        addition to Britt, the principal investigator, team members were
        Michael Hargrave and Janet Simms; all three work for the Corps'
        Engineer Research and Development Center.

        Previous non-invasive surveys by other archaeologists were
        inconclusive. Similarly, traditional excavations at the site over
        the past 100 years have failed to provide "a clear understanding
        of the nature, distribution and density of archaeological features
        such as pits, hearths, post holes and other structural remains,"
        Britt said.

        Despite the latest discoveries, the huge, 400-acre site remains
        "unique and enigmatic" -- much of the current understanding
        regarding its evolution and its inhabitants' subsistence, lifeways
        and social order "still speculative and largely based on data
        recovered from surface finds and limited test excavation."

        Nevertheless, Poverty Point is a critical archaeological site in
        the United States and a textbook case for the evolution of a
        non-agricultural, socially complex culture.

        Elsewhere during the same time period, American Indians lived "a
        much simpler lifestyle as hunter-gatherers," Britt said. "There
        are some exceptions, all in Louisiana, that predate Poverty Point
        by a couple thousand years. But they do not possess the level or
        scale of the Poverty Point site."

        Recent archaeological studies in the area indicate that the
        earliest mounds in the Americas also are in northeast Louisiana.
        Those mounds are earlier than the Olmec mounds in Mexico, he said,
        and even the Egyptian pyramids at Giza.
        ###

        Mike Ruggeri's Ancient America and Mesoamerica News and Links
        http://community.webtv.net/Topiltzin-2091/AncientAmericaand

        Copyright � AZTLAN <AZTLAN@...> 2002.
        All rights reserved.
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