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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Fossil enthusiasts having trouble identifying their treasured finds or wanting to discover fossils in the original rock matrix are invited to take their discoveries to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville for its biannual Fossil Day program from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 5. This family-oriented activity is suitable for all ages and is free and open to the public.

Visitors can meet Mitch Blake, manager of coal programs at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown, who will provide expert identifications and answer questions regarding fossil remains.

Grave Creek Mound will offer hands-on activities, including an indoor fossil dig in which real fossils can be found by cracking open and examining rocks. Visitors can make fossil impressions in clay and create a fossil bed that will be excavated during the September Fossil Day at the Mound.

Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Waynesburg University and a master’s and Ph.D. from West Virginia University. He has worked as a coal geologist at WVGES since 1978, specializing in basin analysis and Appalachian coal geology.

Members of the West Virginia Fossil Club, based in Clarksburg, will be on hand to exhibit fossils from their personal collections, and engage visitors in show-and-tell discussions of their display.

The WVGES  will present its 1993 film Rocks and Rivers: West Virginia’s Geologic Heritage throughout the day in the Delf Norona Museum’s theater.

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.

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 may be closed all day during inclement weather.

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 www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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