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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