Hike, demonstrations set at Poverty Point

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A hike though the home site of one of the earliest civilizations in North America is set for Saturday, and the following week visitors will get a chance to see how these ancient people used tools.

A 2.6-mile ranger-guided hike is set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at  Poverty Point State Historic Site, near Pioneer, La., in West Carroll Parish.

Participants will explore the park’s earthen ridges and mounds while learning about the prehistoric peoples that once occupied the site more than 3,500 years ago.

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Natives known as Poverty Point People constructed an complex of semi-elliptical earthen ridges and mounds centered around a 35-acre flat plaza in what is now the state historical site. The largest mound — Mound A — is in the shape of a bird and is believed to have been built over a period of a few months by men and women carrying basketloads of dirt.

Some scientists believe the mounds held ceremonial purposes, while some New Age groups contend the mounds were intended as landing places for extraterrestrial life.

Archeologists believe the ridges were used to hold housing and it is estimated that as many as 2,500 people lived at Poverty Point around 1500 B.C., at the height of the civilization.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2, the park will host hourly tool demonstrations, giving visitors a look at the stone tools Poverty Point People used in their daily lives.

The program includes hands on artifacts display, with audience participation encouraged, park officials said.

Last year, Poverty Point State Historic Site was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a determination on the designation is expected sometime this year. Other World Heritage Sites include the birthplace of Jesus, the Great Wall of China and the Great Pyramid at Giza.

In 2013 UNESCO added 19 sites to the list, but no new heritage sites have been added yet for 2014.

Admission is $4. Children younger than 12 and adults 62 and older are admitted free. The park is open daily from  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the historic site, call 888-926-5492.