Bronze Age Town & Gulf Ports on the Copper Trail
Open-fire manufacturing of Copper Oxhides
continued from Page 1 …river channels, and vast swamps, with 29 Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas. By air, the valley shows hundreds of old oxbows, and bayous. The Mississippi is a powerful river that spills a “half a million tons of sediment a day” into the Gulf of Mexico. The Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf (east of New Orleans, south of the State of Mississippi) “are remnants of a delta that vanished 1800 years ago (200 AD), when the river shifted its channel — something it has done six times in the last 9,000 years” (Ref.50).
“Precipitous bluffs” that are not rock are quickly eroded to a lesser slope unless they are being eroded at the bottom by active water, This “precipitous” bluff must have been made by a meandering branch of the Mississippi in relatively recent geologic times. Was Poverty Point built in a “C” shape as we see it in Gibson’s Fig.3? Probably not. It was a trading center, where it was visited by people carrying heavy goods, including rock and metal, by water. These people would not have wanted to portage these goods in and out of bayous and swamps, and so would have chosen a site easily accessible by boat. Surely boats would have had direct access to the Poverty Point site. Four thousand years ago, prior to levees on the Mississippi, there was an annual flood season. The glacial melt-water from the Great Lakes and ice dam collapses at the southern end of Lake Superior brought major flooding events. These were times of fast flow. Then there were times of slow flow, when it is said a canoe could have been paddled up the Mississippi. When coming upriver from the Gulf, the Macon Ridge may have been the first high ground suitable for a settlement and trading site.
The site had been inhabited for more than a thousand years, but suffered a huge setback with the catastrophe of 1200 BC. Archaeologist Kidder says: “the elaborate trade and mound building abruptly ceased. Research has shown evidence for catastrophic flooding and global climate change c.1200-400 BC. The evidence comes from geological and soils mapping, archaeological and stratigraphic investigations, and an extensive program of coring. The greatly increased flood frequencies and magnitudes are associated with the demise of Poverty Point culture” (Ref.26).
That the site was originally circular is confirmed by the evidence reported by J.A. Ford and C.H. Webb following their excavations for the American Museum of Natural History in 1955 (Ref.49). They found the “distinguishing reddish brown clay soil [iron salts] of the Arkansas river” in the natural levees of the Bayou Macon and a layer of it in the trenches they dug across some of the rings. This layer “contrasted markedly with the gray soils deposited by the Mississippi”. “The Braided Mississippi did much, but not all, of the final cutting into the eastern edge of Macon Ridge … the meandering course of the Arkansas River … carved the bluff and appears to have destroyed about half of the large geometrical earthworks” (Ref.49).
The original structure as a circular ring design is illustrated in Figure 6. Between 2500 BC and 1200 BC a thousand stone circles were built in the British Isles, showing a paradigm change in thinking when the other side of the world was discovered, and the world was confirmed to be round. This new conception of the world brought continued repetition of the representation of the Earth as a sphere. Many actual stone spheres are found. The most well known examples are in the Costa Rican Disquis Delta, but they are also found in Brittany and other places. The Bronze Age city of Atlantis was designed in circular shape. Stonehenge III was a circular site, also built at about 2,000 BC, the same time as Poverty Point.
The Earthworks: The Circular Rings
Poverty Point has “11.2 miles of artificial ridges,” at one point about 7 feet high. A few of these were trenched by the American Museum in 1955, and were thought to support dwelling sites (Ref.49). These rings can…continued on Page 3