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MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Fossil hunters who are having trouble identifying the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants and other organisms they have collected are invited to Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville for its second annual summer Fossil ID Day. From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, Mitch Blake, manager of coal programs at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown, will help fossil buffs identify their fossilized discoveries and answer questions.

Blake holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Waynesburg University, Waynesburg, Pa., and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va. He has worked as a coal geologist at the WVGES since 1978, and his research interests include basin analysis, carbon dioxide sequestration, coal bed methane exploration and Appalachian coal geology.

Grave Creek Mound will offer hands-on family activities provided by museum volunteers and members of the West Virginia Fossil Club. Visitors can view a fossil display, books and posters and participate in an indoor fossil dig in which real fossils can be discovered. They also can receive a coloring page featuring West Virginia’s official state fossil, the giant ground sloth known scientifically as Megalonyx jeffersonii. Additional activities include making a 10-foot long geological time line and creating fossil impressions in clay. The museum’s gift shop has been stocked with fossil items, including casts of the claw of a giant ground sloth.

For more information about Fossil ID Day or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator at Grave Creek Mound, at (304) 843-4128 or email her at [email protected]. Indicate in the message if you are interested in receiving information about upcoming events at the mound.

Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek features one of the largest conical burial mounds built by the Adena people between 250-150 B.C. 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 museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  It is closed on 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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