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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Fossil enthusiasts having trouble identifying their treasured finds are invited to bring 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 7. This family-oriented activity is suitable for all ages and is free and open to the public.

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

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.

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 Sept. 12 Fossil Day at the Mound. They also can make a hand-held fan featuring West Virginia’s official state fossil, the giant ground sloth known scientifically as Megalonyx jeffersonii. Members of the West Virginia Fossil Club, based in Clarksburg, will be on hand to guide the activities, discuss fossils and provide fossil-related displays.

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 Fossil Day at the Mound or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or at [email protected].

Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex features the largest conical burial mound in the New World and ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world. 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 www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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