West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Grave Creek Mound to commemorate Black History Month on Feb. 23 with lecture “African-American Archaeology in West Virginia and the Ohio Valley”


Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will continue its monthly lecture and film series with a lecture, “African-American Archaeology in West Virginia and the Ohio Valley,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. Heather N. Cline, lead curator at the mound, will present the talk as part of Black History Month activities across the state. The program is free and open to the public.

The material evidence of the everyday struggles and successes of enslaved and free African Americans that are found in archaeological investigations provide a deeper understanding of history.

Though few African-American archaeological sites have been documented in West Virginia, comparisons can be made to other slave-era sites in the South.

The presentation will provide an overview of archaeological work conducted at African-American sites in West Virginia and the Ohio Valley. It will include a discussion of clues found in material culture such as the types and quality of pottery made and used, food available, and handmade jewelry, all of which show strong ties to African traditions.

Cline has a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology with a focus on historical archaeology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and a master of arts degree in public history from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga. She has been interested in African-American studies since her early teens growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek Mound, says “Archaeology has the ability to provide a voice for the often silent record of the past. Heather’s strong background in African-American studies will help visitors understand this perspective.”

The 2012 lecture series continues Thursday, March 29, when Lisa M. Dugas, senior archaeologist at GAI Consultants, Inc., will discuss “Late Archaic Shellfish Use at the East Steubenville Site.”

For more information about the lecture and film series, which is held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archaeological Society, 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.



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