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No. 23: Sep-Oct 1982

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Astronomy At Poverty Point

The astounding complex of six octagonal ridges, 4,000 feet across, at Poverty Point, Louisiana, was not recognized until 1953, when aerial photographs were analyzed. Roughly 3,000 years old, the ridges are intersected by avenues that seem to align with summer and winter solstice points as well as some more obscure astronomical azimuths. These alignments represent remarkable astronomical sophistication for the New World in 1,000 B.C.

(Anonymous; "Louisiana's 4,000-Foot Calendar," Science Digest, 90:22, July 1982.)

Comment. An incredible amount of labor was expended in constructing the six, huge concentric ridges. Actually, sighting lines could have been built with just a few mounds or simple markers. The Indians, if that is what they were, must have had something additional in mind to move all that dirt! Let's not be condescending and say that the ridges were for "ritual purposes," when we really have no idea of their purpose. Note, too, that the better-known hilltop earthen forts in Britain possess similar openings in their walls, undermining any theories that they were purely defensive works.

Poverty Point

From Science Frontiers #23, SEP-OCT 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987