Poverty Point Earthworks Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Poverty Point State Historic Site. UNESCO
Fourth-graders from Oak Grove Elementary, led by Park Ranger David Griffing, walk toward the steps of Mound A at Poverty Point State Historic Site. UNESCO on Sunday selected Poverty Point as a World Heritage site, the first in Louisiana. / DACIA IDOM/THE NEWS-STAR

On Sunday, June 22, UNESCO designated the ancient monumental earthworks of Poverty Point in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana as a world heritage site, making it the 22nd U.S. site to be given this honor – alongside such landmarks as the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty, officials said.

Lt Governor Jay Dardenne At Poverty Point
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne took part in a spear throwing demonstration during an event at Poverty Point State Historic Site, which on Sunday was named a World Heritage Site. Photo: The News-Star

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Committee inscribed the site by acclamation at its convention in Doha, Qatar, said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who sent a two-person delegation to the Middle East to advocate for Poverty Point.

Poverty Point was among seven sites around the world to be given this designation.  There are now 1,001 World Heritage Sites.

“This is a huge win for Louisiana,” Dardenne said Sunday. “We’re going to trumpet it to the world.”

The Poverty Point complex is located in the Lower Mississippi Valley and includes five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges separated by shallow depressions and a central plaza, the agency said. UNESCO said it was created and used for residential and ceremonial purposes by a society of hunter-fisher-gatherers between 3,700 and 3,100 B.C.

“The impressive site survives as a testament to Native American culture and heritage,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement. “The United States appreciates the work of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee as it seeks to protect and preserve historical, cultural or natural sites of global significance.”

“It is a remarkable achievement in earthen construction in North America that was not surpassed for at least 2,000 years,” said UNESCO officials.

Read More: A first for Louisiana: Poverty Point selected as World Heritage site

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