Wheels, octagons and golf courses

  • Giulio Magli

The United States is a land of high interest and unexpected surprises for those who are interested in the past. Indeed, there is still a lot to discover about the native North American people before the conquest. Many archaeological sites have not been adequately studied, and others, unfortunately, have been lost forever. However, what was saved is enough, as we shall see, to show that North America was the cradle of a civilization that built some of the most amazing monuments of human history, in both their dimensions and their sophisticated construction.

One of the few true historic paradigms is that rivers can be ideal places for the development of great civilizations, and this is certainly true in the case of the Mississippi. The first part of the history of Mississippi River civilization can be referred to as Poverty Point, which is the name of a site in Louisiana, in the lower Mississippi River near the Bayon Macon River. The first traces of Poverty Point culture date from the year 5000 BC, but it reached its highest level of development between the years 1700 and 1350 BC, and traces of this culture can be found scattered all the way to Tennessee and, on the coast, to Florida. These traces include objects made with various, often imported, materials, such as copper, magnetite, and galena, as well as “microlites”, Which are small geometric objects made of stone, of unknown use. Poverty Points architects built huge earthworks and artifical hills, or mounds, as did succeding populations. In most cases the scope these mounds is not clear, as we shall see, although some of them, especially those having the form of barrows, were certainly used as tombs.


North America Point Architect Archaeological Site Geometric Object Ideal Place 
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© Springer-Verlag New York 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Magli

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