March 15, 2010
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will continue its monthly lecture series on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m., in the auditorium of the Delf Norona Museum. The series is being held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archeological Society. The lectures are free and open to the public.
The March program is entitled Some Recently Reported Stone Cairns in West Virginia. Roger B. Wise, supervisor of archaeology for the West Virginia Division of Highways, will make the presentation. Since the mid-1800s, many archaeologists have associated piled stone constructions, also known as cairns, with prehistoric peoples. Some contemporary archaeologists, however, think many of these are just piled up rocks that farmers moved when clearing their fields for plowing instead of cairns which may indicate a burial or ceremonial site. Wise’s talk will look at two recently discovered cairns in West Virginia, and explore the possibility of their prehistoric origins.
A native West Virginian, Wise has a bachelor’s degree in geology from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in anthropology from Florida State University. He has worked in two careers, oil and gas exploration and archaeology. Wise has conducted archaeological survey work in Florida and West Virginia and has excavated in Virginia and on the Gulf Coast. He is an active member of the Council for West Virginia Archaeology, and serves as the organization’s Web master.
David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek Mound, says, “These rock piles are a genuine West Virginia history mystery. If you like learning how riddles of the past are brought to life through archaeology, then this lecture should interest you.”
For more information about the lecture, contact Rotenizer at (304) 843-4128 or e-mail him at David.E.Rotenizer@wv.gov. Indicate in the message if you are interested in receiving notification of other upcoming programs at the mound.
The lecture series will continue on Thursday, April 29, with Dr. Robert F. Maslowski, on The Art and Archaeology of the Adena and on Thursday, May 27 with Darla I. Spencer on Evidence for Siouan-speaking Native Americans in Southern West Virginia before European Contact. An archaeological film series will be presented at the mound during the summer months.
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 which ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world built by the Adena people. A massive undertaking, construction of the mound took place in successive stages from 250-150 B.C. and required the movement of 57,000 tons of earth, approximately three million individual basket loads.
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 has a new wing which houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Curation Facility, as well as a study room for researchers and a library. Contact the complex for information regarding group registration and detailed driving directions. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Access to the mound and gift shop closes 30 minutes before the museum.
Visitors can also see four traveling exhibits on display, Women of Design: Embassies, Mansions, and Stately Homes–Pat Bibbee and Vivien Woofter; Marble King: the World’s Finest Marbles; Homer Laughlin China Company; and Ladies Fashion Dolls of the Nineteenth Century by Pete Ballard.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Culture Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Culture Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.