MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville has a variety of programs and activities during the month of May for all ages. They include a lecture titled “Middle Class Victorian Wheeling: Revisiting the Victorian Wheeling Collection”by Kate Wietor; a documentary film, “Ghosts of Green Bottom: Uncovering a 19th Century Plantation;” the first planting day of the season of the museum’s Interpretive Garden; and a month-long sunflower seed planting activity. All programs and activities are free and open to the public.
A new craft will be available throughout May at the Discovery Table, where visitors will find all the supplies needed to start sunflower seedlings, which can later be transplanted into their own gardens. Sunflower-shaped labels are included for a finishing touch.
The “Second Saturday” film, “Ghosts of Green Bottom: Uncovering a 19th Century Plantation,”which will be shown on Saturday, May 14, at 1, 2, and 3 p.m., shows how archaeologists combined research and excavations to tell the story of the Jenkins plantation. At its peak, around 80 slaves worked 1,700 acres of rich Ohio River bottomland, planting crops such as potatoes and raising cattle and hogs. The most notable member of the Jenkins family was Albert Gallatin Jenkins, who went from serving in the U.S. Congress to a Confederate general. The archaeologists discovered evidence of everyday life of the family, its slaves, and employees, including outbuildings and brick pathways where they lived and worked. This 29-minute film and the archaeological work it documents were sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Saturday, May 21, is the first of two days of the annual planting of the museum’s Interpretive Garden. From noon to 4 p.m., the public can join volunteers in planting seeds saved from the garden in previous years. Corn, beans, and squash, which were often known as the Three Sisters amongst Native Americans, will be accompanied by sunflowers. The latter are native to North America and were likely known by the Adena people who constructed the Grave Creek Mound. This family-friendly event will take place rain or shine and includes indoor activities in case of inclement weather. A second planting day is planned on Saturday, June 4, from noon to 4 pm.
The final highlight of May is a lecture presentedby Kate Wietor titled “Middle Class Victorian Wheeling: Revisiting the Victorian Wheeling Collection” on Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m. Wietor is an AmeriCorps member serving with Wheeling Heritage who also volunteers in the archaeology lab of the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. She has been working on a collection of artifacts recovered in 2001 from the proposed footprint of the Federal Annex building in Wheeling. Bottles, dishware, toiletry items and craft supplies recovered from privies found at the site offer insight into the lives of Victorian Wheeling’s middle class. She takes a fresh look at this collection and shares insights she has gained from this work. As an AmeriCorps member at Wheeling Heritage, Wietor writes historical content for Weelunk, the online magazine dedicated to sharing Wheeling’s story.
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 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Access to the Mound and other outdoor areas 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@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.