It is often assumed that hunters and collectors do not like management layers and related negotiations. But an archeological site in Louisiana tells a different story.
Native Americans who lived in northern Louisiana 3,000 years ago were considered simple hunters. They would go in small groups and wander in search of food. But re-examined archaeological finds paint a surprisingly different picture of America’s first civilization.
In Louisiana, we find Poverty Point, an impressive archeological site with a collection of prehistoric landforms. Scientists are amazed that these monumental pottery can withstand the test of time. One of the most remarkable things is that these earthquakes have existed for over 3,000 years, “said researcher Tristram Guitar.” In comparison, modern bridges, highways and dams fail with surprising regulation because it is much more complicated to build structures like these than you might think.
Mir Over Poverty Point
The Point of Poverty – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014 – covers an area of about three square kilometers, with wide, meter-high mountains and dense semi-elliptical ridges. These changes in the landscape were made by hunters and collectors about 3,400 years ago. Surprisingly, this was done without the luxuries of modern equipment, pets or wheelbarrows. Poverty Point, a pilgrimage site for Native Americans, may be as important a religious site as modern-day Mecca. The site was abruptly abandoned 3,000-3,200 years ago – most likely due to flooding and climate change in the Mississippi Valley.
In a new study, researchers meticulously observed the imposition of pottery using a variety of research methods. And this leads to an interesting conclusion. The study team believes that the earthworks were completed surprisingly quickly. So they think Native Americans built them up in a matter of months or even weeks. Researchers have not seen any signs of weather, and this could have happened even if the builders had taken a short break.
According to Guitar, these findings challenge previous notions of how modern-day hunters and collectors behaved. It must have taken a very large number of people to build the largest land works at Poverty Point, and they must have worked in a well-organized manner. Also, it requires good leadership to implement. That means Indians need to know some kind of political system. It was assumed that the hunters and collectors did not like the management layers and the negotiations associated with them.
“The drilling, the speed of construction and the amount of soil that was moved betray the fact that the indigenous people came to the place and worked together,” Guitar said. “This is significant because the hunters were not supposed to be like that.”
Once researchers have thoroughly studied the workings of the earth, they can only make a decision. And the builders must have been very skilled engineers. Beyond the simplicity of life sometimes outlined in anthropological books, the aboriginal people were considerably more intelligent. They had the ability to create particularly solid pottery that would remain intact even after thousands of years. In addition, due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Poverty Point experiences constant massive rainfall, making the erosion particularly prone to landslides. Nevertheless, the earthen structures are boldly erected, which shows the exceptional building ability of the Indians. “They are truly incredible engineers with the most advanced technical knowledge,” Kitter insists.
Microscopic analysis of the soil shows that the Native Americans reinforced the structures in a recipe calculated to be a mixture of different types of soil – clay, sediment and sand. “Like Roman concrete or colliding earth in China, Native Americans invented sophisticated ways to mix different types of materials and make structures almost indestructible,” Guitar said. “It’s a magic that is still not understood by modern engineers.”
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