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At that time, the Gulf of Mexico was dozens of miles to the south of its currect location, and those earliest archaeological sites are likely under the waters.There are numerous sites dating from the Archaic period, and particularly from the mound-building times called Poverty Point.There is, after all, a certain element of finality to their being, in that, at least for the foreseeable future, they will not, nay cannot, be resurrected.Besides the physical evidence, including shell middens, overgrown streets, an occasional brick or other artifact, there is a wealth of written testimony to the history of the area.Prominent in this regard are the journals of Iberville and Father Du Ru, Penicaut, and Le Page du Pratz.
The remains of what by some accounts was the largest sawmill in the world is a few large blocks of concrete, once foundation for nineteenth century mechanisms that even today would be considered imposing structures. Names that once commanded power or reflected wealth, like Claiborne, Pray, Weston and Favre, are known elsewhere today, but now exist along the Pearl only on tombstones in the Logtown and Napoleon cemeteries.
As early as 1500 BC and continuing until historic tribes like the Pascagoula and Biloxi, Native Americans hunted, fished and navigated the Pearl River drainage, building earthworks and shell middens and leaving a great deal of evidence of their trading acumen and artisanship.
It was archaeology that brought us to the topic of this book.
That edge of Hancock County, Mississippi, which borders Louisiana at the mid-point of the Pearl River, is in many ways now nondescript, quiet and forlorn bereft of whatever culture evolved there over the ages.
In truth, very little of what meets the eye is indicative of what came before.