MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will feature special activities from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, as part of its annual Archaeology Day celebration. The program coincides with West Virginia Archaeology Month, which is celebrated throughout October. The day will include flint knapping demonstrations and a display of tools, behind-the-scenes tours of the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility, a museum treasure hunt run by the Greater Moundsville Convention and Visitors Bureau, in-person presentations in the museum’s auditorium and spear throwing using the atlatl. Additional activities, displays and demonstrations for the whole family will be available. New this year are in-person presentations by archaeologists Lauren Nofi and Amanda Valko. All activities are free and open to the public.
At 1 p.m., Lauren Nofi will present “Introduction to Archaeology: A Crash Course for the Curious,” a whirlwind tour of the basics of archaeology, issues in the field and one possible way to approach it all. Nofi will discuss what archaeologists do, why they do it and how they can do it better. She will also look at various ages of technology to break up human history into more manageable chunks. With a B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. from The University of Sheffield, Nofi has focused her work on the United Kingdom and Ireland from the Iron Age through the Anglo-Norman period but is also interested in the archaeology of early Colonial America through the Civil War. She has worked at several excavations in Ireland, Scotland and England as well as at Colonial Williamsburg and the National Museum of American History in the U.S.
At 3 p.m., Amanda Valko’s presentation of “How I Became an Archaeologist” will share her experiences building a career as a professional archaeologist, having started as a volunteer. Her passion for archaeology directed her path to earning an M.A. in Anthropology with a focus in archaeology at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Drawing on her previous career as a dietitian, Valko’s master’s thesis examined “The Prehistoric Diet and Nutritional Status of the Wylie Site Inhabitants.” The Wylie Site, located near Washington, Pa., dates to around A.D. 1000-1550, and is identified as a Late Prehistoric Monongahela site. Valko will discuss several important sites where she has worked and what it is like to conduct everyday field surveying and lab work.
Visitors to the event can also sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s collection and research area guided by curator Hank D. Lutton. Several volunteers and interns will be on hand doing tasks such as washing artifacts.
A soil flotation demonstration by Valko will show how samples collected in the field are processed by rinsing them in flowing water. After the fine silt particles are washed away, the remaining bits and pieces are dried and sorted. Soil samples can contain items such as small bones, fish scales, charred seeds, and even tiny glass beads.
Demonstrations of prehistoric skills include making stone tools by flint knapping and a display of replica artifacts by Robert and Jaynetta Walden of Poca, W.Va. Spear throwing using an atlatl also will be demonstrated by Lori and Andy Majorsky, members of the World Atlatl Association (WAA), who will allow visitors to try their hand at this ancient skill. Lori Majorsky is a world champion in atlatl throwing.
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 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday. Outdoor access 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.