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.
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.