MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will host Fossil Day on Saturday, March 5, from noon to 4 p.m. The event will feature expert fossil identifications, a fossil talk, a special display of fossils and hands-on activities relating to fossils. The family-friendly program is free and open to the public.

Expert fossil identifications will be provided by Dr. Elizabeth Rhenberg from the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES), where she is employed as a survey geologist in the Coal and Mapping departments. Dr. Rhenberg earned her Ph.D. from West Virginia University and holds a Master of Science degree from Kent State University as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She specializes in crinoids and enjoys all kinds of fossils. Crinoid fossils are aquatic animals shaped like a flower and are also known as sea lilies. They are related to starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

At 2 p.m., geologist E. Ray Garton will present a talk titled “Ice Age Animals in West Virginia.” Garton and his wife Mary Ellen are curators and owners of the exhibit Prehistoric West Virginia: West Virginia Fossils, a display of fossil casts and real fossils located at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex. The exhibit is on loan from Prehistoric Planet, “The Museum Where You Can Purchase Every Exhibit,” and Garton will discuss many of its animals. Garton is a graduate of West Virginia University where he majored in geology and paleontology. He also serves as curator of the Geology Museum at the WVGES and as research associate to the Section of Vertebrate Fossils of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. He also is a frequent contributor to the fossil collections of the Carnegie Museum and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Fossil Day will also include a special exhibit by Sue, Bill and Stewart Hurst, who are members of the West Virginia Fossil Club. The Hurst family will bring a fossil display and share information about the Fossil Club and fossil collecting. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities such as making fossil casts, looking for fossil shark teeth in sand matrix, observing tiny fossils through a microscope, making a model crinoid and earning a prize in a fossil exhibit hunt.  

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.