May 18, 2010
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will continue its monthly lecture series on Thursday, May 27, 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 May program is entitled Evidence for Siouan-speaking Native Americans in Southern West Virginia before European Contact. The talk will be presented by Darla I. Spencer, an award-winning archaeologist with more than 15 years experience.
When the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the Kanawha Valley more than 200 years ago, they found evidence of Native American occupation, but no inhabitants. As a result, historians, ethnologists, and archaeologists have studied the identities of the native people who lived in the area for many years. Spencer will examine historic, linguistic, and archaeological evidence for a proposed Siouan presence in southern West Virginia between A.D. 1500 and 1700. The evidence is supported by the results of her analysis of pottery from several Native American villages, which suggests an association with Siouan-speaking peoples in Virginia. The pottery used for the study is housed at Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex.
Spencer holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from West Virginia State College (now University) and a master’s degree in sociology with a concentration in anthropology from Marshall University. She worked as a transportation systems analyst for the West Virginia Division of Highways for six years, followed by 11 years as publications director for Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRAI), a leading nationwide full-service historic preservation company with corporate headquarters in Lexington, Ky. Her extensive involvement with the West Virginia Archeological Society includes serving as secretary/treasurer as well as on the Board of Directors, and coordinating the group’s annual meetings. In 2002, she was honored with the Society’s Sigfus Olafson Award of Merit.
“We are pleased to host another lecture in this series which helps to make public the ongoing archaeological research taking place in the Mountain State,” said David Rotenizer, site manager at the complex. “Discoveries are being made every day and the series helps to bring this to life,” he added.
For more information about the lecture, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator at Grave Creek Mound, 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.
An archaeological film series will be presented at the mound during the summer months. The lecture series will resume in September.
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. A massive undertaking, construction of the mound by the Adena people 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.