MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex has filled its July schedule with programs for visitors of all ages, from a murder mystery film set on and near the Navajo Reservation and a lecture on the Seventh West Virginia Infantry during the Civil War, to story time with the Moundsville-Marshall County Library and other activities for younger visitors. All programs are free and open to the public.
The museum’s Second Saturday Film series resumes on Saturday, July 10, with the film A Thief of Time to be shown at noon and 2 p.m. Based on the best-selling novel by Tony Hillerman, this thriller follows Navajo tribal police officers Joe Leaphorn (Wes Studi) and Jim Chee (Adam Beach) in an investigation that leads off with a stolen backhoe and a missing archaeologist and into a tangle of archaeological excavations, stolen pots, and murdered pot hunters. The story takes place within the backdrop of the Navajo reservation and surrounding areas along with traditions and beliefs of the Navajo people. (95 min)
The Seventh West Virginia Infantry during the Civil War will be the topic of a lecture presented by authors David W. Mellott and Mark A. Snell at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. The program is based on their book The Seventh West Virginia Infantry: An Embattled Union Regiment from the Civil War’s Most Divided State. Formed originally as the Seventh Virginia from the north central region of western Virginia (now West Virginia), the Seventh also included volunteers from Monroe County, Ohio, Greene County, Pa., and northeastern Virginia. The “Bloody Seventh” earned its nickname in many of the major campaigns of the Civil War’s Eastern Theater, including at Winchester, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Petersburg. A book sale and signing will take place after the program. This program is sponsored by the Marshall County Historical Society and the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library, with special thanks to Jonathan and Roselyn Turak for their financial contribution.
A second lecture titled “Appalachian Square Dance” will be presented by Bethanny Prascik at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 31. Prascik started dancing as a five-year-old which eventually led to undergraduate majors in Anthropology and Dance at West Virginia University. Her program will present research she has conducted at WVU under Musicology Professor Dr. Travis Stimely. She will delve into the history of square dancing and how it was influenced by the many ethnic groups that settled in Appalachia. She is employed as a Governor’s Intern at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex this summer where she works in the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility.
A series of children’s programs is being held this summer in conjunction with the Summer Reading Programs held by the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library. Archaeology is the topic on July 21, with separate sessions for younger and older children. At 11 a.m., children ages 5-8 will search the museum’s exhibits for archaeological clues in a museum scavenger hunt. At 1 p.m., children ages 9-12 will learn how archaeological sites are formed and why they need to be carefully excavated by creating and excavating miniature archaeological sites in a box. The programs will be taught by Kayla Grose from the library and Andrea Keller from the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. Participants must pre-register by calling Kayla Grose at the library at (304) 845-6911.
Families can also create a new craft at the museum’s Discovery Table, where the topic of the month will be turtles. Some Native Americans have been known to view the world as being located on the back of a giant turtle. In West Virginia, petroglyphs (rock carvings) and a carved turtle found at the Cresap Mound that was excavated in Marshall County during the summer of 1958 hint that this belief may have been shared by the prehistoric people who lived in the Ohio Valley region.
July also brings a new Featured Artist to the complex. Betsy Cox is a native of Glen Dale, W.Va., where she operates and maintains her studio, Echo Valley Pottery. She is well known for her pit-fired, Raku, saggar fired, and wood-fired pottery as well as traditional glazed pottery. This exhibit features a series of paintings she completed in 2020 during the COVID lockdown. Her work has been featured in Sterling Publishing Books, 500 Tiles, 500 Raku and various magazines and calendars and has been exhibited and honored in many areas and international venues.
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 [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound and www.twitter.com/gravecreekmound.