Poverty Point National Monument | MOUND D

Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

WALKING TOUR STOPS 3 AND 4

Mound D

Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument is the focus of the third and fourth stops on the walking tour of the archaeological site. Stop 3 is right at the mound, and Stop 4 is a little farther away and has a wayside exhibit that tells its history. The mound is not accessible on the driving tour of the park, so on foot is the only way to see it.

Located at the southeast end of the park near Bayou Maçon (pronounced Mason), Mound D is the only mound at Poverty Point that was not built by the people who established the Poverty Point settlement between 1650 BC and 1100 BC. It was built by the Coles Creek people sometime between 700 AD and 1100 AD, roughly 2,000 years after the Poverty Point settlement was abandoned. It was built on top of one of the Poverty Point ridges, most likely Ridge 2.

Mound D is 4 feet tall and has a rectangular base measuring 100 x 62 feet. Trees now cover half of it. All of the mounds at Poverty Point have certainly been worn down by erosion over the years, so most likely Mound D was originally taller.

Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

There are no burial mounds at Poverty Point, thus most were used as elevated platforms on which buildings such as temples or houses for the elite were built. The tops of mounds used to support structures were not rounded as they are today (due to erosion), but were flat on top, forming large fields atop a platform of dirt.

Trees cover half of Poverty Point National Monument's Mound D

Trees cover half of Poverty Point National Monument’s Mound D

The reason why Mound D is intact and was not plowed under when Poverty Point was a plantation in the 1800s is because it was used as a cemetery by the Guier Family, the family that owned Poverty Point Plantation (the archaeological site takes its name from the plantation). However, Poverty Point was really just a small farm, not an opulent plantation with a large mansion. The name Poverty Point accurately describes the Guier’s lower-economical status in life.

Mound D is also known as Sarah’s Mound because one of two remaining tombstones is for Sarah Guier, the wife of plantation owner Phillip Guier. The other is for Amanda Malvina, though it is hard to read. She married Arent Van Rensseklaer, and together they lived on the other side of Bayou Maçon. Both women died in August 1851.

Grave of Sarah Guier on Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

Grave of Sarah Guier on Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

Grave of Amanda Van Rensselaer on Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument

Grave of Amanda Van Rensselaer on Mound D at Poverty Point National Monument


Stops 5-6: Ridge 1 | Stops 1-2: The Dock | Walking Tour Home Page


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Last updated on November 8, 2022
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