Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will celebrate archaeology with family-oriented activities from noon – 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 4. The 22nd annual “Archaeology Day” events are timed to coincide with West Virginia Archaeology Month. All activities are free and the public is invited to attend.
Highlights of the day include behind-the-scenes tours of the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Curation Facility, a museum search, similar to a scavenger hunt, hands-on activities and special artifact and craft displays.
Hands-on activities include creating small clay pinch pots and decorating them using pottery in the museum’s exhibits for inspiration. Visitors also can try their hand at spear throwing using the atlatl, a hunting tool that was used for many thousands of years before the invention of the bow and arrow. An atlatl consists 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.
Another special feature will be flint-knapping demonstrations by Robert Walden, 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.
Amanda Valko, lab manager at Michael Baker, Inc., and Brian Fritz, principal investigator at Quemahoning, LLC, will demonstrate “flotation,” 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.
Special displays include Native American artifacts and books by Marian Phillips, replica tools by Robert and Jaynetta Walden, and Native North American culinary and medicinal plants by master gardener “Wild Liz” Harper. The historic Cockayne Farmstead in Glen Dale, W.Va. will feature materials recovered during excavations at the farm, and the Pittsburgh firm GAI Consultants will present a display of projects conducted by its archaeologists in West Virginia to round out the program.
“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 Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator at the facility. “Promoting the state’s rich archaeological heritage is one of our major goals,” she added.
For more information about the archaeology month celebration, contact Keller, at (304) 843-4128 or e-mail her at Andrea.K.Keller@wv.gov. Indicate in the message if you are interested in receiving notification of other upcoming programs at the Mound.
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 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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