West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex Announces September Programs

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Visitors to the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville can enjoy a variety of programs and exhibits in September. There are new additions to the bi-annual Fossil Day program, two temporary art exhibits, a new children’s craft, along with a film and two lectures. Admission to the museum, its exhibits, and activities, is open to the public free of charge.

The museum’s Second Saturday film, “Why Bridges Collapse,” will be shown at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. It examines the 2018 collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, which killed 48 people. The Silver Bridge of Mothman fame at Point Pleasant, W.Va., is one of several other bridges used to explain what happened and to hopefully prevent future bridge failures. The Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967, taking the lives of 46 people. This 60-minute film is part of the PBS NOVA series.

Fossil Day, a family-oriented program held twice a year, will return on Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. Participants are invited to bring fossils for expert identification by Dr. Ronald McDowell, senior research geologist at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown. Dr. McDowell will identify fossils from noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. At 2 p.m., Ray Garton, curator of Prehistoric Planet, will present a program titled “Fossils of West Virginia: What You Didn’t Know.” Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) and Mr. Taylor McCoy, a vertebrate paleontology volunteer at the museum, are joining Fossil Day this year. The Carnegie is world renowned for its fossil collections and will set up a “mini museum” with fossils and fossil replicas. McCoy has field experience prospecting for and excavating fossils in Montana and recently presented two lectures as part of the Ohio County Library’s People’s University lecture series on dinosaurs. He will exhibit and share fascinating facts about his personal “Tooth and Nail” collection of fossil replicas. Other family-oriented activities include a fossil exhibit scavenger hunt, making fossil casts to take home, excavating a recreated fossil bed and viewing very small fossils through a microscope in the shadow of an enormous cast of a stegodon skeleton.

Visitors can also make a trilobite slap bracelet at the museum’s Discovery Table. Trilobites are sea creatures that lived during the Devonian Period (approximately 419.2 to 358.8 million years ago) and their fossils have been found in West Virginia. Some fossilized trilobites have been found rolled up like a pill bug, armadillo – or a slap bracelet. This craft will be available during Fossil Day and throughout September during regular museum hours.

The 2022 Fall Lecture and Film Series kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 with a lecture by Dr. Phillip Fitzgibbons, director of the Archeology Field Program at the History and Anthropology Department at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Dr. Fitzgibbons will present “The ASA Hill Site Revisited: A Review of Prehistoric Site Function and Lithic Technology Across Time and Place.” The Asa Hill Site (33JE112) is located in Jefferson County, Ohio, a few miles west of the Ohio River on a narrow “saddle” landform above Short Creek. It is a multi-component prehistoric site that was visited repeatedly over many years during the Archaic and Woodland periods. Large numbers of flaked stone tools, including many hundreds of projectile points have been recovered and examined by the landowner, advocational archaeologists and members of Franciscan University’s Archaeological Field Program. The lecture will examine how the landform and stone tools provide evidence that the site was well suited for hunting and processing game.

In addition to the museum’s many permanent exhibits, art aficionados can visit two temporary exhibits. Paintings by Susan E. Drennan will be on display through Tuesday, Sept. 27. Drennan describes herself as primarily a landscape artist – her work includes buildings and flowers as well as landscapes.  The second art exhibit features works by members of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and is directed by Patty Neis. A wide variety of subjects from landscapes to abstract designs can be viewed through Sept. 29.

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 andrea.k.keller@wv.gov or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound

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