MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — This April, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville is pleased to offer several events, including the Second Saturday Film, lectures, the Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dance Troupe, continuation of the Marshall County Student Art Show and sunflower seed planting at the Discovery Table. These programs and activities are free and open to the public.
The Second Saturday Film will be presented on Saturday, April 8, at 1 and 3 p.m. “Myths and Moundbuilders” was released as part of the PBS Odyssey series that helped make anthropology, archaeology, science and history more accessible to the public. This episode begins with mapping and recording of prehistoric earthworks by early archaeologists Ephraim G. Squire and Edwin Hamilton Davis in the 1800s along with the question “were the mounds built by Native Americans?” Early archaeologists subscribed to a racist view that large and elaborate earthworks required planning and engineering skills and must have been constructed by someone other than the Native Americans of their day. This view was challenged, and the ancestors of today’s Native American people are now acknowledged to be the creators of the earthworks. The 1-hour film also features archaeological excavation techniques and an experiment recreating the construction of a small mound.
The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is honored to host the Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dance Troupe from Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, April 15. The program begins at 11:30 a.m. with a lecture on Navajo history, traditions and dance, followed by an intermission at 12:30 p.m. and dance performances starting at 1 p.m. Under the direction of Shawn Price, the Dineh Tah’ Dancers have promoted a deeper understanding of their rich cultural heritage to audiences across the country and have earned many awards and honors for their presentations and performances. Maintaining their deep connection to the religious aspects of their culture is of utmost importance as they share the beauty and rich spiritual traditions of their people.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, the Complex will host a lecture titled “Coke Oven Ruins in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve” presented by David N. Fuerst, cultural resource program manager, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River.
Coking spurred the growth of coal mining in the area of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve of West Virginia during the late 19th century. This program describes the coking process and the documentation of 632 coke ovens in several of the park’s coal mining towns. Fuerst serves as NPS archeologist and NPS historian and is president of the West Virginia Archeological Society. He holds an M.A. in archeology from Southern Illinois University.
“Revisiting Grave Creek Mound: Results and Interpretations of the 2016 Geophysical Survey” will be presented at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, by Dr. Alexander C. Corkum II, project geophysicist at Terracon, Inc. As part of his doctoral research, Dr. Corkum employed ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tomography and drone-based photogrammetry to capture data both above and below the surface of the Grave Creek Mound. Join him as he explores the results of this survey work and what he learned along the way. He will also talk about photogrammetry and how accessible it can be for documenting things archaeological or otherwise and will allow the audience to get a closer look at some of the equipment he uses. Dr. Corkum holds a Ph.D. from the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, UK, and manages the Geophysics Department for Terracon’s Columbus, Ohio, office.
The annual “Marshall County Student Art Show” continues during regular museum hours through 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. 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 with help from art students from John Marshall High School. The artwork was juried, and ribbons awarded in a variety of categories, including “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice.”
Visitors can also plant sunflower seeds in a cup to take home and transplant into their own gardens at the museum’s Discovery Table. Sunflowers are native to North America and were domesticated here long before becoming an important oil crop in Europe. The Adena people who constructed the Grave Creek Mound probably planted sunflowers and enjoyed their nutritious seeds over 2,000 years ago. Sunflower seed planting is available during regular museum hours.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound, www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound and www.instagram.com/gravecreekmound.