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Louisiana's Historic Earthworks Designated World Heritage Site

Published on 25 June 2014

Discover the World Of Judaica

by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

Map Of Poverty Point Historic Site
Map Of Poverty Point Historic Site

The prehistoric Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, a State Historic Site and National Monument in Louisiana, is now recognized as one of the world’s most treasured cultural and historic sites.

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has voted to inscribe it by consensus as a World Heritage Site at its 38th session in Doha, Qatar, June 21.

On June 23 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell applauded the decision. “Poverty Point is an extraordinary settlement built by an ancient hunter-gather society more than 3,000 years ago that deserves to be recognized as one of the world’s great archaeological sites,” Jewell said in a statement released by the Department of the Interior. “It is a vital part of Native American heritage and culture, and its inscription as a World Heritage Site will draw visitors from around the world to Louisiana, providing an economic boost to local communities.”

The site, which features an extensive collection of prehistoric earthworks constructed 3,100 to 3,700 years ago, tells the story of the early inhabitants of North America. Researchers believe the vast complex of structures, including an integrated complex of earthen mounds, enormous concentric ridges and a large plaza, might be the largest hunter-gatherer settlement that ever existed.

The prehistoric settlement joins a list that includes cultural and natural sites of universal importance such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar proposed Poverty Point for nomination as a World Heritage Site in January 2013. Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States, and the 1,001st to be inscribed worldwide.

The Interior Department’s National Park Service manages all or part of 17 of the 22 existing World Heritage Sites in the United States. It is also the principal government agency responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention in cooperation with the Department of State.

In a June 22 statement, the State Department expressed its appreciation to the World Heritage Committee for its decision.

“The impressive site survives as a testament to Native American culture and heritage,” the State Department said. “We are proud that the twenty six Native American Tribes of United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) joined us in support of this World Heritage nomination.”


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Posted 2014-06-25 12:34:00