MSU faculty, students part of public La. archaeological dig

Contact: Kenneth Billings

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Archaeologists and students from Mississippi State University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe are joining for a summer dig next month at the nationally famous Poverty Point State Historic Site.

Located near Epps, La., the site involves the largest, most complex earthwork of its age in North America. Researchers have dated it to between 3,700-3,100 years ago.

The project is part of a semi-annual field study course offered through MSU's Cobb Institute of Archaeology. Anthropology professor and Cobb archaeologist Evan Peacock said teams will spend the entire month of June engaged in excavations that put into practice techniques learned in the classroom.

Members of the public are invited to visit the excavation Wednesdays-Sundays from 7 a.m.--3:30 p.m. For more PPSHS information, visit

Diana Greenlee, Poverty Point Station archaeologist, will lead the ULM effort, while Peacock and departmental colleague Janet Rafferty head the MSU team.

A majority of the site in the 402-acre park includes five mounds and six nested semi-elliptical earthen ridges that enclose a flat 37-acre plaza. The focus of current excavations is the buried circles in the plaza.

"Our field study course provides students with invaluable opportunities to get firsthand experience with the collection and excavation of prehistoric artifacts," Peacock said.

Park Manager Dennis LaBatt said optimal viewing of the excavation typically occurs after the first week, which usually is spent in preparatory work.

Mississippians may reach the park via Vicksburg. From U.S. Interstate 20 West, take the Delhi exit, travel north on La. Highway 17, east on Highway 134 and north on Highway 577.

For more information, telephone [toll free] 1-888-926-5492 (locally, 318-926-5492) or e-mail

Peacock may be reached at 662-325-1663 or

For more information about Mississippi State University, see

Thu, 05/21/2009 - 05:00