MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — William Jack Hranicky, director of the Virginia Rock Art Survey, will present the talk “Early American Prehistory in the Middle Atlantic Area” at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville on Thursday, May 30. The program, which is part of the Mound’s lecture and film series, begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

One of North America’s greatest archaeological mysteries centers around the earliest human beings to set foot on the continent. For many years, scholars thought they were the big-game hunters known as the Clovis people, who entered North America at the end of the last ice age through the Bering Strait. Research indicates that these people lived here around 9,000 – 13,000 years ago.

More recent discoveries have led archaeologists to revise that view of prehistory. In 1970, a stone projectile point, known as the Cinmar Point, was dredged up off the Virginia capes along with 23,000-year-old mammoth bones. Several sites in the Middle Atlantic area, including Cactus Hill and Saltville in Virginia, Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania, and Miles Point in Maryland, present clues of earlier visitors, and possible ties to the Old World.

Hranicky, who is an expert on prehistoric stone tools and rock art in Virginia, will display some of the oldest bipoints, which are chipped stone tools shaped like a laurel leaf, found in the United States during his presentation.

Hranicky has been involved in archaeology for more than 40 years. Before joining the Virginia Rock Art Survey, he ran the McCary Fluted Point Survey. He is a charter member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists and has served as president of the Archeological Society of Virginia.

An accomplished author and educator, Hranicky has published more than 200 papers and 30 books on archaeology. His latest book, Bipoints Before Clovis, will be available for purchase following the program.

The lecture and film series, held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archeological Society, will continue at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, with the PBS documentary film Lincoln’s Secret Weapon,” which describes underwater discoveries that show how the ironclad USS Monitor revolutionized naval warfare during the Civil War.

Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek features one of the largest conical burial mounds built by the Adena people between 250-150 B.C. 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 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.

For more information about the lecture or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or email her at

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.

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