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Press Release



Secretary Jewell Applauds Designation of Poverty Point in Louisiana as Nation’s 22nd World Heritage Site


Historic Earthworks Dating Back 3,000 Years Tell the Story of Early Inhabitants of North America


06/23/2014



WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today applauded the decision by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to inscribe the prehistoric Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, a State Historic Site and National Monument in Louisiana, as a World Heritage Site.

The U.N’s World Heritage Committee inscribed it by consensus at its 38th session in Doha, Qatar this past weekend.

“Poverty Point is an extraordinary settlement built by an ancient hunter-gather society more than 3,000 years ago that deserves to be recognized as one of the world’s great archaeological sites,” Jewell said. “It is a vital part of Native American heritage and culture, and its inscription as a World Heritage Site will draw visitors from around the world to Louisiana, providing an economic boost to local communities.”

The historic hunter-gatherer settlement joins a list that includes cultural and natural sites of universal importance such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Jewell praised the efforts of Sen. Mary Landrieu in promoting inscription of the site, which features an extensive collection of prehistoric earthworks constructed 3,100 –3,700 years ago. The vast complex of structures, including an integrated complex of earthen mounds, enormous concentric ridges, and a large plaza, may be the largest hunter-gatherer settlement that ever existed.

“Senator Landrieu raised global awareness of Poverty Point and its Outstanding Universal Value, the hallmark for inscription as a World Heritage site. The Committee members agreed that Poverty Point deserves to be recognized alongside Stonehenge, the pyramids of Egypt and other great archaeological sites,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Rachel Jacobson.

Then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar proposed Poverty Point for nomination as a World Heritage Site in January 2013.

Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States, and the 1,001st to be inscribed worldwide.

The Interior Department’s National Park Service manages all or part of 17 of the 22 existing World Heritage Sites in the United States. It is also the principal government agency responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention in cooperation with the Department of State.

Inclusion of a site in the World Heritage List does not affect U.S. sovereignty or management over the sites, which remain subject only to U.S. law. Detailed information on the World Heritage Program and the process for the selection of U.S. sites can be found at www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/worldheritage.htm.