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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville continues its celebration of West Virginia Archaeology Month at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, with a lecture titled “The Newark Holy Stones: Science, Politics, and Religion in 19th Century Ohio.” This program will be presented by Bradley Lepper, senior curator of archaeology and manager for Archaeology and Natural History at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus, Ohio. The program is free and open to the public.

The Newark Holy Stones are a series of carved and polished stones bearing Hebrew inscriptions said to have been found in the ancient mounds in and around Newark, Ohio, in the 1860s. They were seized upon by those who believed “savage” Indians could not have built Ohio’s mounds, but have been considered frauds by most archaeologists and historians since the late 1800s. Beginning in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in the Holy Stones with some enthusiasts arguing that they are authentic ancient artifacts.

In addition to his work at the Ohio History Connection, Lepper writes a regular column on archaeology for the Columbus Dispatch and is the author of Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio’s Ancient American Indian Cultures, published in 2005 by Orange Frazer Press, Wilmington, Ohio. He also has been a visiting professor of sociology and anthropology at Denison University. His primary areas of interest include North America’s Ice Age peoples, Ohio’s magnificent mounds and earthworks and the history of archaeology. Lepper’s research includes excavation of the Burning Tree mastodon and discovery of the Great Hopewell Road, featured in a documentary that was first broadcast on PBS in 1998.

Operated by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex features one of the largest conical burial mounds built by the Adena people between 250 – 150 B.C. and ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world. Exhibits and displays in the Delf Norona Museum interpret what is known about the lives of these prehistoric people and the construction of the mound. The complex also houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility.

Admission to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is free. The Delf Norona Museum, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Outdoor access closes at 4:30 p.m.

For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.

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