MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville is busy with activities in March, including Fossil Day, the opening of the annual Marshall County Student Art Show, an archaeology lecture honoring March as Women’s History Month, an exhibit of photographs by the Ohio Valley Photo Club and a springtime craft. All events and programs are free and open to the public.
Fossil Day, which takes place twice a year, will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. The public is invited to bring mystery fossils for identification by Dr. Elizabeth Rhenberg from the WV Geological and Economic Survey. Rhenberg is employed as a survey geologist in the Coal and Mapping departments. She specializes in crinoids and enjoys all kinds of fossils. Crinoid fossils are aquatic animals shaped like a flower and are also known as sea lilies. They are related to starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.
The program also features a fossil display by members of the West Virginia Fossil Club who will showcase some of their specimens and answer questions about the club’s activities which includes meetings and fossil collecting trips. Additional fossils and fossil casts, including megalodon teeth, dinosaur skull casts, real and cast dinosaur teeth, and replica claws will be displayed by Taylor McCoy from Altoona, Penn. McCoy is a paleontology volunteer at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and has prospected and excavated fossils in Montana.
A lecture titled “The Wild, Wonderful Sloth of West Virginia” also will be presented on March 4 by Dr. Ryan J. Haupt at 2 p.m. Dr. Haupt wrote his doctoral dissertation on the giant ground sloth and currently serves as director of STEM Programming at the National Youth Science Foundation. The giant ground sloth is West Virginia’s state fossil.
Family friendly activities relating to fossils include making a fossil cast, viewing a fossil insect through a microscope, making a model of a fossil coral, and a museum hunt with fossil clues. Visitors may also wish to stop at the Business and Health Expo held the same day at the West Virginia Penitentiary, located across the street from the Grave Creek Mound Complex.
The monthly Second Saturday program will be the showing of the film “The King of Crimes” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. “King of Crimes” refers to the crime of treason for which Aaron Burr was tried in John Marshall’s court. President Thomas Jefferson had Burr charged with treason for plotting to carve out a kingdom for himself from parts of Louisiana and Mexico. The case also involved the Blennerhassetts at Blennerhassett Island. This program was produced by the John Marshall Foundation and is adapted from a play by David L. Robbins.
March is Women’s History Month, and the occasion will be celebrated with “The Bettye Project: The Life and Times of Archaeologist Bettye Broyles,” presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, by Lisa Dugas. Bettye J. Broyles (1928-2011) was a trailblazing archaeologist who worked at the prestigious Illinois State Museum, the University of Georgia, and the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, where she became West Virginia’s first female State Archaeologist. Dugas obtained her B.A. in anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and her M.A. in anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is currently employed as senior lead for cultural resources at Big Pine Consultants.
The Archaeological Complex also welcomes the 41st annual “Marshall County Student Art Show” with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 25. The art show will be on exhibit through Saturday, April 15. This competitive show features a variety of media such as drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculpture created by very talented students from Marshall County’s middle and high schools. People’s Choice awards will be voted on and awarded during the opening reception. The art show is organized and set up by students from the Cameron High School Art Club under the guidance of art teacher Amanda Jenree.
Visitors to the complex can also view an exhibit of photographs by the Ohio Valley Photography Club throughout the month. The club provides learning opportunities for photographers of all skill levels through meetings held twice a month, group photo shoots, and several group shows each year.
Families can enjoy celebrating the advent of Spring by making “Bug” finger puppets using pipe cleaners, construction paper, and google eyes at the museum’s Discovery Table during regular museum hours. They can also learn about insects at a nearby display.
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 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Access to the Mound and other outdoor areas closes at 4:30 pm.
For more information about activities and programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.