In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, designer Barbara Neely Bourgoyne writes about Poverty Point.
Maybe I’d heard of Poverty Point before. Maybe when I was younger and still in school. I can’t seem to recall. But wow, what an amazing place! Occupied from about 1700 to 1100 BC and once the largest city in North America, it stretches across 345 acres in northeastern Louisiana. The complex array of earthen mounds and ridges overlooking the Mississippi River flood plain are not only impressive for a pre-agricultural society; they are also a great communal engineering feat due to the massive amounts of soil they had to move to create the earthworks.
There is also no rock at Poverty Point. None. The objects found at the location were created from stone and ore that was imported from the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, the Appalachian foothills of northern Alabama and Georgia, and other distant places in the eastern United States. Which indicates that this complex society also had a sophisticated trade network.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014, Poverty Point’s historical significance resonates not only on a regional level, but nationally and internationally as well.
Now the truly interesting thing to me is how this book is a conversation between artist and archaeologist. Jenny Ellerbe was drawn to the beauty of the place and her black-and-white photographs can attest to that. Diana M. Greenlee discusses the most recent archaeological findings and their significance. The way the two work together creates such a unique vision for the reader. Below are a few images from the book so you can see for yourself. But I strongly suggest picking up a copy of your own and then visiting the site. You won’t be disappointed.
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