Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will present prehistoric pottery making demonstrations entitled “Experimental Archaeology in Action” from 1 - 4 p.m. on three consecutive Sundays beginning January 25. Subsequent demonstrations will take place on February 1 and February 8. Visitors are invited to come observe the demonstrations. The complex also will have an activity table set up where visitors are challenged to assemble a pottery puzzle and create their own puzzle which they can take home. The activity table will be available during regular museum hours through March 22. All activities are free and the public is encouraged to attend.
Experimental archaeology can provide insights into how artifacts such as pottery were made and used. Prehistoric Native Americans did not use the traditional potter’s wheel. Archaeological evidence indicates that prehistoric pottery was made by shaping the clay using sticks, shells, corn cobs, paddles wrapped with string, stones, and by hand. Before forming the clay, it had to be collected, freed of impurities and mixed with temper. Temper is defined as small particles of shell, stone, or other materials that archaeologists think were helpful in preventing cracks as the clay pots dried and fired.
Exhibits at Grave Creek Mound include examples of prehistoric pottery made in West Virginia from approximately 1000 B.C. to 1600 A.D. Visitors also can view exhibits that interpret the Adena people who built the Grave Creek Mound and, weather permitting, climb the stone steps to the top of the mound. There also is a museum shop.
For more information about the demonstrations or future events at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator for the Complex, at (304) 843-4128, ext. 202, or by e-mail at [email protected]
Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex features one of the largest and most famous burial mounds built by the prehistoric Adena people. A massive undertaking, construction of the mound took place in successive stages from about 250-150 B.C., and required the movement of more than 60,000 tons of earth. Exhibits and displays in the complex’s museum interpret what is known about the lives of these prehistoric people and the construction of the mound. The Archaeological Complex is located at 801 Jefferson Ave., in Moundsville. Contact the museum for information regarding group registration and detailed driving directions. The museum is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Access to the mound closes 30 minutes before the museum.
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 Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural 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.
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