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Poverty Point

Revealing the Forgotten City

144 pages / 8.00 x 9.00 inches / 38 color photos, 59 halftones, 16 maps, 3 charts

Archaeology | Regional Studies

  Hardcover / 9780807160213 / April 2015

Winner of the LEH Humanities Book of the Year Award

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

The settlement of Poverty Point, occupied from about 1700 to 1100 BC and once the largest city in North America, stretches across 345 acres in northeastern Louisiana. The structural remains of this ancient site—its earthen mounds, semicircular ridges, and vacant plaza—intrigue visitors as a place of inspiration as well as puzzlement. Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City delves into this enduring piece of Louisiana’s cultural heritage through personal introspection and scientific investigation.

With stunning black-and-white photography by Jenny Ellerbe and engrossing text by archaeologist Diana M. Greenlee, this imaginative and informative book explores in full Poverty Point’s Late Archaic society and its monumental achievements. Ellerbe’s landscapes and commentary reflect the questions and mysteries fostered by her many visits to the site, and Greenlee discusses the most recent archaeological findings, explaining what past excavations have revealed about the work involved in creating the mounds and about the lives of the people who built them. The conversation between artist and archaeologist also covers what is still unknown about this place, including the city’s function in the ancient world and how its people acquired their stone materials, some of which originated over a thousand miles from Poverty Point.

The historical significance of Poverty Point, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014, resonates regionally, nationally, and internationally.

JENNY ELLERBE is a fine art photographer whose work focuses primarily on northeastern Louisiana.

DIANA M. GREENLEE is the station archaeologist at the Poverty Point World Heritage Site and an adjunct professor of archaeology in the School of Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Praise for Poverty Point

“A charming, informative narrative. . . . The archaeological content is exceptionally well presented. . . .Photographs, a glossary, and references complete a well-conceived presentation in this gem. Highly recommended.”—CHOICE

“The two authors create a right-brain/left-brain approach to Poverty Point that produces a book to please all readers. It is handsome enough to sit on a coffee-table, yet also scholarly enough to answer contextual questions about the history and geography of the site. . . . Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City well deserves its status as an LEH Book of the Year: it is interesting, informative, and beautiful to look at. And I hope that it brings readers to visit the site for themselves.”—Louisiana Cultural Vistas

“Well-illustrated and extensively referenced, it is easily read on a quiet afternoon. It is not, however, a book to be shelved and forgotten. There’s enough content to keep you interested for quite a while.”—Mississippi Archaeology

“The convergence of art, history, and science has been eloquently woven together in this book concerning one of the most unique and mysterious archaeological sites in America. . . . The book is unlike any other I have come across and is a delight to read. Ellerbe’s photographs provide us with amazing views of the Poverty Point landscape, but her inquisitive descriptions paint mental views that give us even more insight into the mystery of an ancient culture. Greenlee balances these questions by providing as many answers as possible all the while keeping the discussion entertaining and informative. Together they have achieved a successful union between art and science.”—Arkansas Review

“A moving tribute to an earlier culture and to the beautiful transience of human life and the lasting beauty of nature.”—NOLA Diaspora

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