Magnetometer Surveys and the Complex Prehistoric Landscape of Poverty Point, Louisiana


Poverty Point, Louisiana, is well-known for its massive architecture that includes earthen mounds and six semi-circular ridges. Geophysical surveys conducted over the past decade have revealed that the subsurface of this deposit also contains a large, extensive and diverse set of artificially constructed features. In addition, remote sensing demonstrates that features that have been often described as singular constructions are actually a palimpsest of overlapping depositional events. Here, we discuss the results of our recent magnetometer surveys conducted across Poverty Point in areas of the ridges and near the Mound B field. Our results support recent findings that the prehistoric Archaic landscape of Poverty Point included massive features such as woodhenges, pits, and other types of architectural structures that are not visible on the surface. In specific, we show that the site once included the largest woodhenge known in the Americas, a circle of wood posts that covered roughly 60 hectares. These results support the growing understanding of Poverty Point as the remains of activities that integrated prehistoric communities through repeated episodic group-level activity.

Cite this Record

Magnetometer Surveys and the Complex Prehistoric Landscape of Poverty Point, Louisiana. Tiffany Raymond, Carl P. Lipo, Matthew Sanger, Timothy de Smet, Anna Patchen. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445105)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20744