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ICAHM requests input from its members for the World Heritage nomination of Poverty Point State Historic Site, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Most of the sites inscribed on the World Heritage List are of superlative and immediately evident beauty. The Taj Mahal and the Sidney Opera House, for example, are easily recognizable as exemplars of human creativity. Non-masonry archaeological sites, or monumental sites built in the context of non-agricultural societies, such as Poverty Point, are not as well represented. In no small part this is because establishing outstanding universal value in terms of historical or scientific significance is challenging. A successful nomination requires well-researched comparisons to similar sites around the world.

ICAHM would like to draw upon the knowledge of its expanded membership to assist in the nomination of an extremely important archaeological site, Poverty Point, in Louisiana, to the World Heritage List. Poverty Point contains earthen monumental architecture that was constructed by a society that did not practice agriculture. In the history of humankind, this is unusual, and some have argued unique. The practice of agriculture requires the coordination of specialized activities associated with both production and distribution; monuments reflect that level of organization and encourage it by means of rituals performed at monuments.

ICAHM is interested in receiving information from its members about comparable monuments produced by non-agricultural societies in the region or regions of the world with which they are familiar. To this end, Professor Helaine Silverman has written an informative essay comparing Poverty Point and several other sites. To view the essay, click here.

Please send any information you would like to share regarding the nomination of Poverty Point to Helaine Silverman at