March 22, 2011
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville will continue its 2011 lecture and film series on Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m., in the auditorium at the Delf Norona Museum. The program, entitled “The History and Archaeology of West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH),” will be presented by Travis L. Henline, site manager at WVIH in Wheeling, and David E. Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek Mound. The series is held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archaeological Society. The lectures are free and open to the public.
Originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, WVIH is considered the birthplace of West Virginia because it was the site of a series of events leading up to the state’s creation. It served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, WVIH is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recorded with the Historic American Buildings Survey of the National Archives. The facility also is located on the Civil War Discovery Trail. WVIH is operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History with the support of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation, Inc.
The sandstone Renaissance Revival-style structure, designed by Ammi Burnham Young, is architecturally significant because the building’s innovative internal skeletal structure includes wrought iron “I” beams, box girders and cast iron columns–very early uses of technology that later made skyscrapers possible. Independence Hall is one of the earliest surviving examples of this engineering.
During recent renovations, workers discovered a buried historic level of soil. Staff and volunteers from Grave Creek Mound, WVIH and Archaeological Consultants of the Midwest, Inc. worked to recover artifacts and document the cross-section of soil that contained more than 2,500 objects dating back to the early 19th century. The found objects are being analyzed in the research wing at Grave Creek and will be discussed during the lecture. Several of the items can be seen from the observation window looking into the research wing.
The lecture 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, “Ohio’s Small Earthwork Sites: Tracking Them Down, Surveying Them with Geophysical Instruments and Making Some Surprising Discoveries,” by Dr. Jarrod Burks of Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. will take place on Thursday, April 28.
For more information about the lecture and film series or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or e-mail her at [email protected]. Indicate in the message if you are interested in receiving information of 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 which ranks as one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds anywhere in the world.
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 houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Curation Facility, as well as a study room for researchers and a library. 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.
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 www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.