Moundsville, West Virginia: Grave Creek Mound

2,000 year old Adena burial mound created by Indians is the largest; their story is told in the Delf Norona Museum, and the site includes the WV Archaeology Center.
Address:
801 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville, WV
Directions:
I-470 exit 1. Take US 250/Hwy 2 south ten miles into Moundsville. When US 250 and Hwy 2 split, follow Hwy 2 for another six blocks to 8th street. Turn left on 8th for two blocks to Jefferson Avenue, then right on Jefferson.
Hours:
M-Sa 10 am - 4:30 pm, Su 1-5 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
304-843-4128
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Cave Creek Mound. Grave Creek Mound - no skeletons

Across the street from the old West Virginia State Penitentiary is the Grave Creek Indian Mound; the only remaining publicly-accessible example of the ancient features that gave Moundsville its name. Guarded by a wrought iron fence, access to the mound is sentried by the Delf Norona Museum, whose curator will extract $3 from each adult wanting a closer look at their large pile of dirt.

The museum boasts a number of old exhibits spread over two floors. The first floor doubles as a community room, so don't be surprised if you're browsing the cases in the midst of a local photography contest or Rotary club meeting. The exhibits focus mainly on archeological finds, so be prepared to view examples of every flint or stone technology invented by the Adena people during their millenium-long reign from 1000 BC - 1 AD. Most exhibits on this floor were donated by the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh PA, probably during the '60s or '70s, so they're succinct and informative if rather dull and bleached by time.

On the museum's second floor, a rather nice exhibit explaining the scientific side of Archaeology can be found alongside a detailed depiction of the mound's various layers. Visitors can judge for themselves whether the "infamous Grave Creek Tablet" -- basically an Adena commemorative plaque -- is real, or the clever invention of overzealous 1930's archaeologists in search of funding...

The mound itself is rather uninteresting. All excavated tunnels have been filled. All structures on the moundhave been torn down, and all older structures surrounding the mound are delapidated and barred with plywood. Athletic types ascending to the lofty elevation of 69 feet are greeted by a stone compass marker, a 2 ft. stone retaining wall, and an obtrusive 3" steel drainage pipe sticking oddly out of the mound.

A moderately interesting way to spend 90 minutes or so; unless you're an avid follower of Indian arrowheads or weaving technology, your view of the mound from outside the iron fence is not greatly improved by passage through the museum's glass doors.

[Jim Kilmer, 10/13/2001]

April 2013: Photo added.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Circus and Carnival Mini-MuseumCircus and Carnival Mini-Museum, Moundsville, WV - < 1 mi.
West Virginia State Penitentiary TourWest Virginia State Penitentiary Tour, Moundsville, WV - < 1 mi.
Marx Toy MuseumMarx Toy Museum, Moundsville, WV - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Shenandoah Airship Disaster, Ava, OH - 44 mi.

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