MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will host Fossil Day from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 15. All activities are free and open to the public.

Visitors are invited to bring fossils for expert identification by Dr. Ronald Mc Dowell, senior research geologist and head of the Geoscience Section of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown. McDowell specializes in invertebrate paleontology, the study of large and small fossil animals that do not have an internal skeleton, and holds a Ph.D. in geology from the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.

Hands-on activities during Fossil Day include making “fossil” impressions in clay and excavating a “fossil bed” that was created during the March Fossil Day. Small fossils can be found in a sand “matrix,” and supplies will be on hand to make a piece of fossil jewelry.

The film “Rocks and Rivers: West Virginia’s Geologic Heritage” will play in the museum’s auditorium throughout the afternoon, courtesy of the WVGES.

A museum hunt will take place in the exhibit Prehistoric West Virginia, which is on loan courtesy of its curators and owners, E. Ray and Mary Ellen Garton of Prehistoric Planet. Prizes will be available.

Fossil Day attendees may also consider a visit to the Elizabethtown Festival, which will be held across the street at the Old West Virginia Penitentiary, and the fall festival held just down the street on Jefferson Avenue. Both events will run from 10 am to 6 pm. 

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 or visit and