Special Publication #4
Avery Island is known far and wide for its natural beauty. Live oaks bearing festoons of Spanish moss, fields plush with red hot peppers, snowy egrets building nesting beside the ponds, and alligators peering slyly above the murky waters are but a few of the elements that make this island a virtual Eden. However, it was the presence of an active saline that made Avery Island attractive to both historic and prehistoric populations. Indians made good use of the Salt Mine Valley site for making salt in late prehistoric times, and even earlier Indians used the island to erect earthen edifices, such as the Banana Bayou Mound. In the Petite Anse Project Ian Brown begins with a thorough discussion of the archaeology of Avery Island and then heads out to the other salt domes and surrounding marsh in exploring the rich culture history of the coastal plain. Three parishes receive major treatment in this volume and well over a hundred sites are explored. The degradation brought about by hurricanes and industry has changed forever the west-central coast of Louisiana. Because many of the sites visited and described by the author have sadly disappeared, this work is an important time capsule for those interested in Louisiana’s past.