Young and old alike have long held a fascination with fossils – the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants and other organisms from the remote past. Since fossils can be found practically anywhere, many people have started to collect them, but often are unable to identify the fossil. Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will conduct a special “Fossil ID Day” from noon to 4 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 26, to help fossil buffs with this task. The program is free and the public is invited to attend.
Visitors are invited to bring their fossils and meet Mitch Black, manager of coal programs at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) in Morgantown. He will be on hand to provide expert identifications and answer questions. Black 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 the WVGES since 1978, and his research interests include basin analysis, carbon dioxide sequestration, coal bed methane exploration and Appalachian coal geology.
The West Virginia Fossil Club, based in Clarksburg, also will be at the mound with books and posters about West Virginia fossils.
Grave Creek Mound will offer special hands-on activities for the family. Visitors can make “fossil” imprints in clay, search for fossils in sand and receive a coloring page featuring West Virginia’s official state fossil, the giant ground sloth known scientifically as Megalonyx jeffersonii.
“Many folks come to us for help with fossils they have found, but archaeologists don’t really study fossils, that is more in the realm of geology, so we’re happy to present this “Fossil ID” program. We plan on having another fossil program on Sunday, Aug. 12,” said David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek Mound.
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 Andrea.K.Keller@wv.gov. 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 Mound Archaeological Complex features one of the largest conical earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world. The Delf Norona Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays. Outdoor access closes at 4:30 p.m. and may close due to 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.