MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex welcomes the fall season with a series of activities, including Fossil Day, the first program of the 2021 Lecture and Film Series, a documentary, and a new “Featured Artist” exhibit. All events are free and open to the public. 

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the film “Poverty Point Earthworks: Evolutionary Milestones of the Americas” will be shown at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. This 22-minute film features earthworks at the Poverty Point State Historic Site in northeastern Louisiana that date to 1750-1350 BC. Built at an enormous scale, the earthworks consist of six concentric earth embankments that would stretch 7.5 miles if laid end to end, a 70-foot-tall mound shaped like a giant bird, and several other mounds. A poster exhibit on the Archaeology of Louisiana will be on display in the upstairs hallway on the day of the film. 

Fossil Day, a family-oriented program held twice a year, will return on Saturday, Sept. 18, from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors 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 – 1 p.m. and 2 – 4 p.m. At 1 p.m., Ray Garton, curator of Prehistoric Planet, will present a program titled “Thomas Jefferson’s Contribution to West Virginia Paleontology.” There will also be a variety of family-oriented activities throughout the afternoon, including a museum hunt in the exhibit, “Prehistoric West Virginia: West Virginia Fossils,” making fossil casts, looking for fossils in a sand matrix, and observing tiny fossils through a microscope. 

The museum’s monthly Lecture and Film Series will resume at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, with a lecture by Stan Bumgardner. Titled “The West Virginia Mine Wars,” this program discusses the largest armed insurrection in the United States since the Civil War, examining its causes, major events, and why few West Virginians ever learned about these nationally significant struggles until recent decades. Bumgardner is the editor of Goldenseal magazine, West Virginia’s quarterly magazine of traditional life, now in its 47th year.  The entire Summer 2021 issue is dedicated to the mine wars, marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain, the culminating fight of these violent conflicts. Copies of this publication are for sale in the museum’s gift shop.  

Several additional activities are planned. Throughout the month, families can celebrate the upcoming season by making a colorful leaf using water soluble markers and special water diffusing paper at the museum’s Discovery Table. The museum is also pleased to host an exhibit of paintings by Cheryl Childers, who will be the museum’s September Featured Artist. Childers is a self-taught artist who has dealt with mental health issues her entire life. She helps others through art and helps facilitate groups for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).  Her art has been featured in many shows throughout the state of West Virginia.  

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 protected] or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.