Historian: Poverty Point needs national recognition
By Ellis C. Cuevas
Jul 3, 2014, 19:26
Russell Guerin, local author and historian for Hancock County and neighboring Louisiana, said this week that the Louisiana "Poverty Point" has been named a World Heritage site.
"The importance to us in Hancock County, is that we too have a Poverty Point culture site near Pearl River. It is commonly called the Claiborne site. There are only eight other such cultural sites in the United States. It puts the Louisiana Poverty Point in the same category as the likes of the Statue of Liberty, Monticello, and Independence Hall."
Poverty Point culture is an archaeological culture that corresponds to an ancient group of Indigenous peoples who inhabited the area of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf Coast from about 2200 BCE - 700 BCE. It is one of the oldest complex cultures, and possibly the first tribal culture in the Mississippi Delta and in the present-day United States.
"One scientific study shows the possibility that the Claiborne site may have come before the Poverty Point in Louisiana," Guerin said. "The tie-in is that they were from the same culture and about the same age, going back to 3,400-3,700 years old.
"The artifacts that the Hancock County Historical Society has on display from the Claiborne site are the same as many of those from the Louisiana Poverty Point site."
Thirty years ago, Guerin said, he visited the Poverty Point site at Epps, which is in northeast Louisiana, not too far from the Mississippi state line.
The current list of World Heritage sites includes Cahokia Mountain State Historic site (1982); Chaco Culture (1987); Independence Hall (1979); La Fortale and San Juan National Historic site in Puerto Rico, (1983); Mesa Verde National Park, (1978); Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, (1987); Monument Earthworks Poverty Point, (2014); Statue of Liberty, (1984); and Taos Pueblo, (1992).
"The Poverty Point site is located in a most beautiful park in Epps," Guerin said. "It is too bad that the Claiborne Poverty site is located in a wilderness in Hancock County, but there is a possibility that something can be done to utilize this historic site."
The Claiborne Poverty site is located on the grounds of the Hancock County Port & Harbor Industrial Park, he said.
Guerin's latest book is titled "Early Hancock County: A Few of Her People and Some of Their Stories."
He has also written many articles about Hancock County and neighboring Louisiana.
His web site is www.russguerin.com.