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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 – Eastern Late Archaic

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Western University
Anthropology 2231F/G
Christopher Ellis

Lecture 8 – Eastern Late Archaic Earthworks  Poverty Point, Louisiana – 3,700 – 3,300 BP o Site covers 200 hectares o Dwarfs all other earlier attempts at building, nothing built on a comparable scale for another 1000 years o Site consists of:  Mounds, plaza, ridged enclosure (semi-circle), ball court mound, causeway  Ridges 600 – 1200 m long, only about 1m high o Took 30 million basket-loads of earth to build the mounds o Mounds range up to 70-80m high o Platform Mounds – at least 3,, others tend to be conical o T-Shaped Mounds – partially platform, suggested they are in the shape of birds, largest mounds, to build largest mound (Mound A) would have taken 180,000 cubic meters of earth, had a single human femur under it o Meaning of Poverty Point  Jon Gibson, tried to interpret site based on knowledge of other local native groups  Faces the sunrise to the east (sun primary celestial being),  Didn’t have complete enclosure so that evil can’t be locked in  Geometrics also thought to keep evil out  Mounds to represent the upper world of celestial beings and lower to represent human existence  Earth mothers, mo
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