MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will host the biannual Fossil Day from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. The event offers fossil identifications and a variety of activities relating to fossils for the whole family to enjoy. The program is free and open to the public.
Expert fossil identifications will be provided by B. Mitchel Blake, Jr., West Virginia State Geologist and director of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown. Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Waynesburg University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from West Virginia University. He has worked at WVGES since 1978, specializing in basin analysis and Appalachian coal geology.
Another highlight of the program is a display of fossils by the West Virginia Fossil Club. Members of the club will be available to discuss fossils and club activities, including informational programs and fossil hunting trips.
Family activities include looking for small fossils in a sand “matrix,” making a clay fossil bed that will be excavated in September, creating “fossil” imprints in clay and making a fossil timeline.
A museum hunt in the exhibit Prehistoric West Virginia will earn a prize for the successful hunter. The exhibit features casts of some of the large Ice Age animals that once roamed West Virginia as well as Dimetrodon, a mammal-like reptile that lived before the age of the dinosaurs. The exhibit is courtesy of Prehistoric Planet, “The Museum Where You Can Purchase Every Exhibit.”
The film “Rocks and Rivers: West Virginia’s Geologic Heritage” also will be shown in the museum’s auditorium. This 19-minute program by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey will be repeated throughout the afternoon.
Fossil Day coincides with Moundsville’s Home and Business Expo, held across the street at the Old West Virginia Penitentiary. Visitors are encouraged to attend both events. The Expo runs 4 – 9 p.m. on Friday, March 2, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.
Operated by the West Virginia Division of 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. and availability is weather permitting.
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.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.