Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will continue its 2011 lecture and film series at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Delf Norona Museum with a program titled ”Erie County Historic Cemetery Survey” by Dr. Mary Ann Owoc. The film and lecture series is held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archaeological Society. The series is free and open to the public.

The Erie County Historic Cemetery Survey is a multi-year project that documents cemeteries, researches trends in cemetery development and use, analyzes grave markers, conducts geophysical surveys and restores cemeteries and grave markers. It is a cooperative effort of faculty, staff, and students of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute who work in partnership with the Erie County Genealogical Society and local communities in the Erie, Pa., area.

Gravestones often provide vital information about the people they commemorate. A genealogist can find a family member’s name and dates of birth and death. An archaeologist can gain insight into a community and the life of its members as tombstones might have inscriptions written in a native language, or have decorative elements that might provide clues to religious beliefs, status in society and personal likes and hobbies.

“Recent years have seen an increased public interest in historic cemeteries and their care and preservation,” said David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek. “This program should appeal to people interested in historic preservation, genealogy, art and history.”

A native of Wheeling, Owoc is an associate professor of anthropology/archaeology at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., where she also serves as dean of the Zurn School of Sciences and Mathematics. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Owoc has specialized in American historic cemeteries and grave markers, archaeological and anthropological theory, Bronze Age monument construction and perishable ceramic impressions, cultural perceptions of stone and sediments, European prehistory, funerary and ritual practice, gender and research methods. She is co-editor of Soils, Stones and Symbols: Cultural Perceptions of the Mineral World.

This program is part of a year-long monthly series of presentations relating to archaeology and historic preservation activities in West Virginia and the surrounding region. Next month’s program is titled The Archaeological Conservancy in the Midwest by Josh McConaughy and will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27.

For more information about the lecture and film series or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator at Grave Creek Mound, at (304) 843-4128 or e-mail her at 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 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, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

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 The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.