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The enormous earthen monument Poverty Point, built on a Mississippi River bayou some 3,200 years ago, is an impressive feat of engineering. Hunter-gatherers moved more than 26.5 million cubic feet (750,000 cubic meters) of dirt to create concentric ridges and several large mounds in what is today northern Louisiana.
Now researchers say one of the most impressive earthworks at the site likely took shape in fewer than 90 days, built by thousands of Native American laborers using a “bucket brigade” system.
Archaeologists excavating parts of Poverty Point, which is now in the running to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, analyzed core samplings and sediments from one of the massive earthen features known as Mound A. Curiously, they found no traces of rainfall or erosion during the construction phase of the mound.
“We’re talking about an area of northern Louisiana that now tends to receive a great deal of rainfall,” said researcher T.R. Kidder, an anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “Even in a very dry year, it would seem very unlikely that this location could go more than 90 days without experiencing some significant level of rainfall. Yet, the soil in these mounds shows no sign of erosion taking place during the construction period. There is no evidence from the region of an epic drought at this time, either.” [In Photos: Earthly Mounds Shaped Like Animals]
Mound A, which stretches across 538,000 square feet (50,000 square meters) at its base and rises 72 feet (22 m) above the Mississippi River, is thought to be the last addition to Poverty Point’s altered landscape. If it were built today, it would take a 10-wheel dump truck more than 30,000 loads to move the estimated 8.4 million cubic feet (238,500 cubic m) of dirt that make up the mound, Kidder and his colleagues said. But hunter-gatherers likely did it with bushel baskets.
“The Poverty Point mounds were built by people who had no access to domesticated draft animals, no wheelbarrows, no sophisticated tools for moving earth,” Kidder explained in a statement. “It’s likely that these mounds were built using a simple ‘bucket brigade’ system, with thousands of people passing soil along from one to another using some form of crude container, such as a woven basket, a hide sack or a wooden platter.”
The researchers believe to complete such a feat in such a short amount of time would have required about 3,000 laborers. This suggests that as many as 9,000 archaic Native Americans might have flocked to Poverty Point for the huge construction project, assuming that many of the workers were accompanied by their wives and children, the team said.
“Given that a band of 25-30 people is considered quite large for most hunter-gatherer communities, it’s truly amazing that this ancient society could bring together a group of nearly 10,000 people, find some way to feed them and get this mound built in a matter of months,” Kidder said.
“These results contradict the popular notion that pre-agricultural people were socially, politically, and economically simple and unable to organize themselves into large groups that could build elaborate architecture or engage in so-called complex social behavior.”
Poverty Point was recently nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Sitebecause of its cultural significance. Artifacts excavated at the site come from as far away as the Ohio and Tennessee river valleys and the Appalachians of Alabama and Georgia, indicating the Poverty Point civilization was heavily involved in trade, the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of Archaeology noted in its UNESCO application.
A bird-shaped mound at Poverty Point in Louisiana, nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The City of Monroe held the “State of the City” address on Wednesday, March 15th at the Monroe Civic Center. Mayor Jamie Mayo says that the city is “on the move” and looking forward to another successful year. Relief. Repair. Rebuild. Recovery and Resiliency…that’s what the City of Monroe is proud of!
The Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance has partnered with LED to help communities become development ready. What this means is when a prospect looks to our area for a potential site, they see that we are a Louisiana Development Ready Community, thus being ready to welcome the business. Below are some pictures from the Rayville Town Hall Meeting on March 7, 2017. NELEA is proud to be a part of this project and we look forward to the progress it brings to the area.
The Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance has partnered with LED to help communities become development ready. What this means is when a prospect looks to our area for a potential site, they see that we are a Louisiana Development Ready Community, thus being ready to welcome the business. Below are some pictures from the Bastrop Town Hall Meeting. NELEA is proud to be a part of this project and we look forward to the progress it brings to the area.
By Jennifer Larino
Entergy is giving $1 million in grants to Louisiana workforce development programs, including money for job training at Delgado Community College as well as re-entry support for the formerly incarcerated in New Orleans, company leaders said Monday (Nov. 14).
Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Entergy Louisiana CEO Phillip May and Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice in downtown New Orleans to announce the grants, which will be used to support five different organizations statewide working to educate, train and prepare local residents for careers in growing industries. Entergy leaders said the grants are funded by shareholder dollars.
Edwards said the state needs to do a better job at finding and helping groups most vulnerable in today’s economy, whether they are young people at risk of dropping out of college, those whose factory jobs are being replaced by technology or formerly incarcerated men and women struggling to find stable work.
“If you get right down to it this $1 million is an investment in the most precious natural resource that God has entrusted to us. That is our people,” Edwards said.
The grants include:
- $500,000 to Louisiana Economic Development to fund manufacturing certifications through the state’s Fast Start and Jump Start programs.
- $169,000 to Operation Spark, which provides software design and engineering immersion training for low-income young adults in New Orleans.
- $100,000 to the Louisiana Construction Education Foundation for scholarships and training for students seeking construction certifications.
- $100,000 to Delgado Community College for scholarships, support and training of students seeking certifications in construction, health care and technology.
- $75,000 to Jobs for America’s Graduates of Louisiana to provide education support service and job training for at-risk youth.
- $75,000 to the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court to provide case management and a revolving loan fund for the re-entry program,
Entergy has committed to donating $5 million over the next five years in support job-training programs. These grants are the first announced under the initiative.
Not all of the $5 million will be going to Louisiana. Entergy plans to support workforce initiatives across its service territory, which also includes Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles Rice and Patricia Riddlebarger, director of corporate social responsibility for Entergy Services Inc., said the New Orleans grants target areas where the company feels its dollars can go farthest: health care, technology and the oppressive cycle of mass incarceration.
The $75,000 grant to the Criminal District Court’s re-entry program will help fund a revolving loan fund that will help men and women getting out of prison improve their credit and access affordable financial services.
Operation Spark will use its grant to fund seats in the program’s three-month software design and engineering immersion course, which readies students for jobs in software development.
Entergy provides power and it thrives only if the community it serves thrives, Riddlebarger said.
Rice added the utility also plays a role in helping attract companies to the state. It makes sense to ensure the region’s workers are educated and prepared for jobs in the pipeline, he said.
“We are also in the economic development business and us making these grants is a part of that strategy,” Rice said.
State officials and business leaders crowded Monday into a meeting room at the Entergy New Orleans building on Perdido Street for the announcement.
They echoed the same concern that framed much of the economic debate during the U.S. presidential election — technology is chipping away at quality jobs available to workers without a college degree. Many parts of the American workforce are playing catch-up.
“Jobs are being replaced by technology, by robotics,” Louisiana Economic Development Sec. Don Pierson said. “The jobs of tomorrow belong to an educated and well-trained workforce.”
Most of the $500,000 grant to Louisiana Economic Development will be used to support job training in north Louisiana. Low U.S. natural gas prices have driven a boom in outside investment in the state’s petrochemical industry, but most of those plants and jobs are in south Louisiana. State officials hope to attract new industries in north Louisiana and statewide by getting workers ready for the type of jobs that will be in demand over coming decades.
Engaging older workers who can be re-trained to do new jobs is a key part of that mission, Edwards said. He recalled a recent visit to Fletcher Technical Community College in Shriever, La. Most of the students were middle-aged men.
“We as a state are going to have to do a better job at identifying those adults who have some college credit, but not enough to have graduated,” Edwards said. “We need to communicate with those people and bring them back.”
Jump Start is Louisiana’s innovative career and technical education (CTE) program. Jump Start prepares students to lead productive adult lives, capable of continuing their education after high school while earning certifications in high-wage career sectors.
Students are required to attain industry-promulgated, industry-valued credentials in order to graduate with a Career Diploma. (Jump Start is an elective path for students pursuing a university-preparatory diploma.)
Schools receive the same accountability grade credit for preparing students for careers in high-demand job sectors as they do for students who achieve top academic honors.