Mound Complex Gets Some Help

The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex got help from a few extra pairs of hands Friday to help clean and catalog more than 2,000 boxes of archaeological artifacts in the museum’s West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collection Management Facility.

Volunteers from the West Virginia University Native American Studies Program spent a week sorting through the museum’s collection containing items from both state and federal reserves.

According to David Rotenizer, Grave Creek site manager, the facility has stored a backlog of pottery shards, spearpoints and arrowheads excavated from the region since the 1960s. With a limited staff, the museum had a difficulty finding time to clean, catalog and label the museum’s treasures.

“We’ve sorted at least 7,000 pieces this week,” the project’s archaeologist, Darla Spencer, said. “A lot of this hasn’t been touched for decades.”

Two years ago, WVU’s Native American Studies Program offered a course on mound building and had students travel to several notable mounds in West Virginia and Ohio. After visiting Grave Creek Mound, Bonnie Brown saw the museum had a large backlog of artifacts that had not been touched. Funded by the Native American Studies program, seven volunteers traveled to Moundsville last year to help sort through the collection.

The program was so successful, 12 volunteers came back this year under a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to continue the museum’s efforts.

The week’s activities culminate with a free public symposium today that will highlight scientific research ranging from the 17th century pottery found at Kanawha River Valley villages to the archaeological interpretation of Revolutionary War-era forts in West Virginia and remote sensing tools used to research the region’s earthen mounds.

The symposium, “Then and Now: Archaeology, History, and Preservation in the Mountain State Region,” will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grave Creek Mound auditorium, 801 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville.

For more information, call Rotenizer at 304-843-4128 or email