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Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will celebrate archaeology with family-oriented activities, demonstrations and exhibits in the Delf Norona Museum and on the grounds from noon – 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3. The 23rd annual “Archaeology Day” events are timed to coincide with West Virginia Archaeology Month. All activities are free and open to the public.

Highlights of the day include behind-the-scenes tours of the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility, a scavenger hunt, door prizes, archaeological films in the museum’s auditorium and hands-on activities and special artifact and craft displays.

Hands-on activities include creating small clay pots with artist Betsy Cox, owner/operator of Echo Valley Pottery in Glen Dale, and flint-knapping demonstrations by Robert Walden of Poca, who will show visitors the art of chipping stone into tools. This process was used to make many of the artifacts on display in the museum.

Archaeologist Amanda Valko and Brian Fritz, archaeologist and owner of Quemahoning, LLC, in New Castle, Pa., will present flotation demonstrations, a process in which soil samples are washed to remove mud and silt, leaving behind a light fraction of items such as seeds and small pieces of wood charcoal, and a heavy fraction of small stones and heavier artifacts such as pieces of stone removed while flint knapping. Visitors also can try their hand at spear throwing using the atlatl with Lori and Andy Majorsky, members of the World Atlatl Association. The atlatl was a hunting tool that was used for many thousands of years before the invention of the bow and arrow. It consisted of a handle with a hook or notch at one end and was used to propel a spear. The atlatl provided more force than throwing by hand, enabling the hunter to throw farther and with greater impact. Lori Majorsky is a three-time Women’s World Champion of this prehistoric skill.

Special displays include Native American artifacts and books by Marian Phillips, replica tools by Robert and Jaynetta Walden, exhibits from West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling and the historic Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, and a display of archaeological projects conducted by GAI Consultants, a firm from Pittsburgh, which includes a PowerPoint program on excavations the firm has conducted at the East Steubenville site.

“Archaeology Day has become a popular event at Grave Creek. It’s fun and family-oriented with something to offer and challenge visitors of all ages,” said Jeremy Kohus, site manager at Grave Creek Mound. “Promoting the state’s rich archaeological heritage is one of our major goals,” he added.

For more information about the archaeology month celebration, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or e-mail her at [email protected], or visit www.facebook.com/gravecreekmound, or 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. 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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