MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville is inviting the public to visit the museum for a full month of family activities in September. From Fossil Day to Smithsonian Magazine Day, and Saturday films to a lecture about the Hyre Mound in Randolph County, there is something for everyone at the complex this month. All activities are free and open to the public.

Fossil enthusiasts having trouble identifying their treasured finds are invited to bring their discoveries to the mound for its biannual Fossil Day program from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Dr. Ronald McDowell, senior research geologist and head of the Geoscience Section at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey in Morgantown, will provide expert identifications and answer questions regarding fossil remains brought to the program.

McDowell specializes in invertebrate paleontology, the study of fossil animals that do not have an internal skeleton. He has a Ph.D. in geology from the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.

Hands-on activities include an indoor fossil dig in which real fossils can be found by examining fossiliferous rocks. Visitors can make fossil impressions in clay and excavate a fossil bed that was created during the March 2015 Fossil Day. They also can make a model of a crinoid, a sea creature that resembles a flower with its arms and stem. The film Rocks and Rivers: West Virginia’s Geological Heritage will be aired throughout the day in the museum’s auditorium.

Participants can make a day of it by visiting the former West Virginia State Penitentiary across the street for the free Elizabethtown Festival. There will be living history demonstrations, displays, crafts and food from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The monthly lecture and film series will continue at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, with the talk “Rediscovering the Hyre Mound” presented by Richard L. Rosencrance, archaeologist and volunteer at the complex. The Hyre Mound, located in Randolph County, dates to the Middle Woodland Period (3oo B.C. -A.D. 600). It was excavated by Bettye Broyles in 1963, but little was studied about it until recently. The mound is being rediscovered by using artifacts and records at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex collection as well as a first-hand account from a local farmer who helped with the excavations in 1963.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, special activities will take place throughout the day while the mound observes Smithsonian Magazine Day, including the “Garden Checklist,” which celebrates the harvest season.

In addition, free Saturday short films will continue to be shown on Saturday afternoons in the museum’s auditorium from noon – 4 p.m. The documentary films focus on  archaeology and history relating to West Virginia and the surrounding areas.

For more information about the September special activities or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128, or at, or visit,

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. The Delf Norona Museum, located at 801 Jefferson Avenue,  is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, 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 The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.