Presentation on theme: "Artifacts indicate that a vast network of trade existed over 3,000 years ago in association with the Poverty Point Culture. The Poverty Point civilization."— Presentation transcript:
Artifacts indicate that a vast network of trade existed over 3,000 years ago in association with the Poverty Point Culture. The Poverty Point civilization once existed near the present-day community of Epps, Louisiana in East Carroll Parish. The relics and remains of this ancient community provide evidence that items were traded between the present-day Northeast Louisiana civilization and other groups ranging in distances of 1,400 miles. Artifacts including foreign materials such as flint, copper, soapstone, gemstones, ironstone, and crystal quartz have been found at the East Carroll site. The origins of these materials can be traced to regional locations in the Upper Ouachita, Ozarks, Appalachians, and Great Lakes. (See Figure 1).
The high concentration of artifacts consisting of foreign rocks provides evidence that an active trade network occurred between the inhabitants of Poverty Point and distant communities. The foreign objects, including flint and copper, provided the Poverty Point inhabitants with materials of better quality for certain uses such as tools while other ornate rocks provided aesthetic and decorative functions. According to Jon L. Gipson, author of Poverty Point, the foreign rocks were highly desired and the large quantities that were circulated show that demand was high and supply and exchange systems efficient (p. 23). The simple economic principles of supply and demand in combination with the scarcity of selected materials encouraged the long distance trading between the various ancient communities (See Figure 2). Sources of Poverty Point Trade Materials Drawing by Denise A. Malter, Courtesy of Louisiana Division of Archaeology: ology/POVERPOI/trade.htm
Artifacts indicated ornamental jewelry was valued by the inhabitants of Poverty Point. It is believed these relics had aesthetic and symbolic significance. Specific objects are believed to have been crafted at Poverty Point and have been found at archaeological sites throughout the probable trade network. One relic believed to originate from the skilled craftsmen of Poverty Point was the Fat-Bellied Jasper Owl Pendants. According to Jon Gipson, this symbolic ornament was circulated across the Gulf Coast from western Louisiana to central Florida. Additional artifacts such as pendants in geometric shapes resembling animals, especially birds, were crafted at Poverty Point and circulated throughout the trading network (See Figure 3). Courtesy of Louisiana Division of Archaeology : Graphic retrieved from Louisiana Archaeology Poverty Point Trade and Symbolic Objects:
According to Gipson (1999), Because Poverty Point culture is defined in terms of stone tools and trade rocks, it really represents a technological and economic pattern more than a social and political one (p. 3). One can conclude that the geographic bond of these distant trading partners was the Mississippi River and its vast system of connected waterways. The Poverty Point site was accessible and possibly a major crossroads for traders. This assumption may be supported by the archaeological findings indicating that the largest collection of foreign rock artifacts are found at the Poverty Point site, not at other sites of participating trade partners. Once again, history indicates that exploration and exchange between various and different groups of people was motivated by economic needs and wants.