Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Native Culture’ Category

Delaware Indians Settle Schoenbrunn Village

Schoenbrunn signStep back in time nearly two hundred and fifty years to see the location of the first church and school west of the Allegheny Mountains. Along the banks of the Tuscarawas River in New Philadelphia experience historic Schoenbrunn Village.

Schoenbrunn Scouts

Scouts from Pennsylvania came to see if this would be a great place to settle.

A group of Christian Delaware Indians arrived from Pennsylvania with Moravian missionary, David Zeisberger, in 1772. They came by invitation of Chief Netawatwes, head of the Turtle Tribe in the Tuscarawas Valley of Ohio.

Schoenbrunn David Zeisberger

This portrait of David Zeisberger hangs in their museum.

David was born in Moravia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. His parents immigrated to Georgia to become missionaries. They sent David to school in Holland, but harsh conditions there caused him to flee to the United States to join his parents.

The family moved to Pennsylvania, where David began preparing for his calling as a missionary to the Indians. He studied their language and learned the traditions of the tribe. Often considered a genius, many called Zeisberger the Apostle of the Indians.

Schoenbrunn Guide

A guide welcomed visitors as he strolled through the reconstructed village.

Near a big spring, deep in the woods, a settlement was established called ‘Beautiful Spring’ by the  Delaware Indians, but translated into ‘Schoenbrunn’ by the Germans. This provided a safe place for the Delaware Indians who had converted to the Moravian faith. Religious services were an important part of each day.

Schoenbrunn Indians

These young men both had Indian blood – one Iroquois and the other Delaware. The glass beads they wore served as early travelers’ checks.

From 1772-1777, this village housed approximately 300 people. The only white people there were Zeisberger, his assistant missionary and the missionary’s wife. The remainder of the village consisted of Christian Delaware Indians.

The village had a short five-year existence due to pressure from both Delaware Indians, and frontiersmen wanting to settle in Ohio. Originally the village contained about forty buildings, but over time these buildings were destroyed, the land was farmed, and all traces removed of the settlement.

The people of Tuscarawas County wished to commemorate this development. Maps, letters and the original diaries of Zeisberger led them to the general area where the town existed.  After extensive research and archaeological excavations, the sites of the school and church were discovered and rebuilding of Schoenbrunn began in 1927.

Schoenbrunn Museum Tools

Museum exhibits display tools used during the early days of Schoenbrunn.

At the entrance stands a museum filled with historic exhibits and an excellent video explaining the history of Zeisberger and the founding of Schoenbrunn Village. Here you will find tools the Delaware Indians used, the original school bell, and books written by Zeisberger. These included a translation of the Four Gospels into Delaware Indian language.

Schoenbrunn Herb Garden

An herb garden provided their medicine. Most had confidence in the medicine man’s healing.

Today, Schoenbrunn contains seventeen reconstructed buildings, including the church and the school on their original sites. The location of the cemetery has also been discovered, while  the stones were created in the 1920s. The Moravians had used identical wooden crosses on all graves because they felt all were equal in death.

Schoenbrunn Candle Makers

Two Moravian women had the heavy task of making candles by dipping them fifty or sixty times.

The candlemakers in the Davis cabin actually still make all the candles used throughout the village. They were made of pure beeswax in those early days, to signify the purity of Christ. The Davis cabin served as home to a Native American, his wife and four children. The walls in many of the cabins were whitewashed in order to reflect the candle light.

Schoenbrunn School with volunteers

Costumed volunteers meandered in front of the school where both boys and girls were educated.

Their schoolhouse sat in the center of the village where both boys and girls received instruction in their native Delaware language. Two doors entered the building – one for the girls to use, and one for the boys. In 1775, there were approximately one hundred children being educated.

Schoenbrunn Wordworking

Children enjoyed watching a wood-maker finish a leg for a bench. He also served as the interpreter for the village.

Anton cabin served as home to the village interpreter, making it easier for the whites and various Indian tribes to communicate with each other. This Delaware Indian also was talented in woodworking, making benches and repairing spinning wheels and wooden door hinges. Building a cabin took twenty-three days.

Everything in their community from school and church to their burial in God’s Acre was divided into what they called “choirs”. The young men and boys were placed together, the young women and girls, and then older men and older women. They did not congregate as families or get buried as such.

Schoenbrunn cooking fire

The missionary’s wife cooked meals here for her husband and David Zeisberger, a bachelor.

Authentically dressed volunteers, who all have a passion for history, help you understand what life was like in the 18th century. They serve as storytellers to explain the daily life of the early residents as well as the importance of missions in American history.

Schoenbrunn Butter Churn

Churning butter took much time and patience.

Visit this historic Schoenbrunn Village Monday through Sunday from Memorial Day to the end of August. During September and October, they are only open on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great place for a family excursion, where you can have an enjoyable outdoor adventure while learning about the history of early America.

Schoenbrunn Village is located in Tuscarawas County at 1984 E. High Street, New Philadelphia, Ohio.  From I-77, take Exit 81 East on US 250.  Next take Ohio Exit 259 to E High Street. The village will be on the left.

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Earth Healing Ceremony

Fog over Ohio RiverOn a rainy day at Grand Vue Park near Moundsville, WV, fog hung in the air making the valley below seem mystical. Through the mist you could see the bridge over the Ohio River. A celebration of our connection to the sacredness of earth was the focus of this Earth Healing and Water Blessing Day, but it seemed the rain had already performed the Water Blessing part.

Amanda DeShong and Mick Burk conducted the ceremony in a shelter at the park with help from many of their friends. This was a day of coming together for the healing of the earth and water, by participating in traditions of cultures from around the world.

Andy story teller

Andy Frankel, a multicultural storyteller, captured the group’s attention as everyone gathered around to hear this master narrator tell tales of other cultures and traditions. He told the story of Chief Seattle, who predicted that man’s appetite would devour this land. By request, he told a second story of a Jewish man looking for justice.

Paint Day

Some had just returned from the Festival of Colors at The Temple of Gold located nearby. The Festival of Colors is a family gathering of friendship, re-enacting a pastime of Lord Krishna with his devotees over five thousand years ago.  Bright colored powders are thrown on other participants until they appear to be in technicolor.

Water Purification

A water anointing was performed on the way to the Prayer Circle. Its intention was to generate energy to heal Mother Earth during this time of extreme turmoil and pollution. One young lady brought a bottle of water from Wheeling Creek to be blessed at the ceremony, thus beginning the purification process. She reported that when she poured the water into the creek that evening, the water in that area became clear enough to see the bottom of the stream.

The group then formed a circle around the Medicine Wheel to honor the Seven Directions Prayer. Everyone joined in the directional prayers, which were led by various people in attendance.

Prayer BundlesPrayer bundles were then made for a Despacho Fire Ceremony. A prayer request was written on a small piece of paper and placed inside a small piece of cloth with some special herbs. After praying over the prayer bundle, it was then tossed into the fire so prayers could ascend to the heavens.

Sunshine JonesSunshine Jones led the group in a session of drumming to connect with Spirit. Everyone had the opportunity to use some kind of instrument for participation in the event.

Deer Foot ShakerOne unusual instrument was the foot of a deer topped with a shaker ball, which made a delightful sound…and the foot was easy to grip.

DrummingMuch dancing and singing took place around the fire as people got caught up in the spirit of the afternoon of earth healing. That healing must begin within ourselves, so we can then spread our energy to influence everything we touch.

Druming

This was a great day for meditation and connection with like-minded friends. There was a feeling of peace on the hilltop that is not often found in our busy lives today. Everyone left looking for things to appreciate in the world around them.

 

Newark Earthworks Connection to Ancient Civilizations

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch created the Great Circle.

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch surround the Great Circle.

“Walk with me. We lived here long ago. Large ceremonies with many people were held here.” This was the feeling that permeated the atmosphere while walking over and around the large mounds called Newark Earthworks built by the Hopewell culture at Newark, Ohio. There are three sections to these earthworks: The Great Circle, The Octagon, and The Wright Earthworks, which were not visited on this road trip.

Surrounded by fields of wild strawberries and gigantic trees, these mounds take your mind and spirit back many years to somewhere between 100 BC and 500 AD. The Great Circle, representing the circle of life, is located in Heath and has eight foot high walls, which surround a five feet deep moat. In the center of the Great Circle are some smaller mounds, one called the Eagle Mound, which covers the remains of an old ceremonial longhouse of the Hopewells.

The only known artifact could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact from these mounds could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact that is known to have come from these mounds is a small stone sculpture. No one is certain whether it is a person, who was a hero in one of their stories, or perhaps a spiritual being. Some even think it could be a shaman wearing bear regalia. Many, however, also believe the Holy Stones were truly from the mound as well, while some feel they are not authentic. These Holy Stones can be viewed in Coshocton at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

During the 1850s, the Great Circle provided a home for the Licking County Fairgrounds. Later use varied from horse racing track to military drill field. The Ohio National Guard has held encampments at this location.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center contains an excellent interactive video that takes you on an exploration of the largest geometric earthworks in the world from the comfort of an air-conditioned area. Guides there provide answers to most of your questions as they are very well informed.

Archaeological surveys report that the Newark Earthworks were connected to the Hopewell Culture Historical National Park in Chillicothe, Ohio by a hand built road. The road was sixty miles long and ten feet wide and paved with crushed shells. Called the Great Hopewell Road, today hiking groups still walk that pathway every year.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

On to the Octagon Earthworks! Something seems amiss here as these are located on a golf course, or a golf course is located on them. Yes, signs guide you to the Moundbuilders Country Club, where visitors are not permitted on the mounds as they might interrupt someone’s golf game. There is an observation platform so you can see the general outline of the mounds, but walking must follow a strict schedule around golf events. The Country Club keeps the Octagon beautifully maintained and provides time each year, for those interested, to actually walk where the ancients walked.

These are by no means small formations as the Great Circle contains 40 acres, while the Octagon surrounds 80. The video at the Welcome Center proclaimed the Newark Mounds as the largest geometric complex in the world…four square miles total.

Octagon Mound can be seen from the Observation Deck.

Octagon Mound. part of the golf course, can be seen from the Observation Deck.

However, just standing at their edge gave a feeling of connection to those ancient people. Researchers believe the earthworks were used for ancient burial places, ceremonies and astronomical viewings, especially the lunar solstices.

Many of the mounds at this complex have been destroyed as it lies within the cities of Newark and Heath. Over the years farming, construction of roads, and development of the city, have changed the face of the earth. But parts of the original complex are being preserved by the Ohio Historical Society with help from Moundbuilders Country Club.

There are usually about three or four days a year that you can freely walk these historic mounds without playing a round of golf. Make plans to visit during the Octagon Mound’s next Open House, which is October 11, 2015. You will enjoy the connection!

Newark Mound Earthworks can be found just off I-70 east of Columbus, Ohio at Exit 129. Take Route 79 to Health to stop first at the Welcome Center at 455 Hebron Road, Heath.

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“Digging the Past” at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio

Dig into the past and discover facts about people who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago. At Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio, those interested in archaeology had an exciting day called “Digging the Past”. Special displays by area people, who are interested in what is under the ground, provided valuable information for anyone who wished to listen.

One of the speakers at Archaeology presentation

One of the speakers at Archaeology presentation

Five knowledgeable archaeologists and collectors gave slide show lectures on various archaeological subjects. Some of my favorite dealt with the various groups of mounds around the state of Ohio. Bruce Lambardo, ranger at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, explained why we should change the term “mounds” to “earthworks”. These structures are not just piles of dirt built by early Native Americans, but precise, geometrical art works that were not only enormous in size, but also aligned astronomically. He described the Hopewell Culture site near Chillicothe as the most spectacular configuration of Earthworks in the world.

Dr. Jarrod Burks, Director of Archaeological Geophyics at Ohio Valley Archaeology, discussed the earthworks throughout the state including Newark, Chillicothe, and Marietta. While many of the mounds have been destroyed by farming and housing developments, there are still new ones being discovered in the last fifty years.

Mound City Artifacts explained.

Mound City Artifacts explained.

There seemed to be a strong connection between the Newark and Chillicothe Earthworks when they were constructed in 300 B.C. – 400 A.D. These earth architects constructed these ceremonial mounds, where the circles had the exact same diameter, and squares measured the same corner to corner. Even more exacting was the fact that the circle would fit perfectly inside the square. How did these early people perform such mathematically correct shapes and even have them aligned to the winter and summer solstices? How did they construct Great Hopewell Road directly between the two mound centers? Either they were geniuses or perhaps they had some extraterrestrial help. Keep your mind open to all possibilites.

Wes Clark explained his finds at The Castle Museum, where pottery and earthworks artifacts have been discovered. Nathaniel Clark Pottery (1808 -1849) existed on the same site as today’s Castle, so many pieces of pottery have been discovered from red earthenware to stoneware. Earthworks artifacts also frequently appear, including flint arrowheads.

From all the buttons found at the military sites, Archaeologist Greg Shipley remarked, with a smile, that the thread must not have been very strong. A wide variety of buttons appeared in archaeological digs in western Ohio military sites while looking for footprints of an outpost there. The hot spot for buttons seemed to be in the area of the taverns.

Flint Knapper demonstrates skills.

Flint Knapper demonstrates skills.

Flint knappers displayed  the intricate methods they use to shape the pieces of flint found. Their methods are beyond my description as they magically formed arrowheads by chipping and shaping the layers of the flint. Long ago the Indians used either stone or bone to shape their arrows from flint, in much the same manner. After use, the arrowheads would need re-sharpened by removing flakes to reshape, so they would get smaller and sharper as time passed. The flint knapper at Marietta had been creating flint pieces for fifteen years so was quite excellent at his craft.

Archaeology displays filled the lobby of Campus Martius Museum.

Archaeology displays filled the lobby of Campus Martius Museum.

Numerous displays throughout the lobby included historic artifacts from collections around the state. Not only were there Indian artifacts from the Adena and Hopewell people, but also artifacts from military camps of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars as well as historic Marietta.  The Pipe Tomahawk intrigued me with a head that has an ax on one edge with a pipe bowl on the other. It enjoyed multiple uses as a pipe to smoke, a ceremonial instrument, and also a weapon.

Tomahawk Peace Pipe

Tomahawk Peace Pipe had several uses.

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta holds informative speakers throughout the year on a wide variety of subjects. If you are interested in Ohio history, check out their schedule at Campus Martius Museum website.

Marietta is located on the beautiful Ohio River just off I-77. Take Exit 1 to downtown Marietta and follow State Route 7 / 60. Turn left on Washington Street and one block down on the right hand side, you’ll see Campus Martius Museum. There is parking to the right of the building or one block behind at the Ohio River Museum. Visit both museums if time permits.

 

 

Monongahela Indian Village at Meadowcroft

Indian Wigwams

Indian Wigwams

Inside the wigwam centers around a fireplace.

The wigwam centers around a fireplace.

If you want to see how Indians lived over 500 years ago, take a peek inside the walls of the Monongahela Indian village. Located at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village near Avella, Pennsylvania, the village provides a place to see what Indian life was like back in 1590. Tall branches, placed so close together that nothing could get through, surround the village. Only a narrow opening permitted entrance to the inside, making the village well protected and easily defended.

Home was a wigwam constructed over a frame of flexible young saplings. Bark woven with cattails covered the outside, while the inside was lined with bark. Furnishings were sparse. A raised platform, which served as a place to sit during the day and a place to sleep during the night, rested against a wall. Quite often a family of nine would live here.

Hunting camp with tools for hunting and fishing

Hunting camp with tools for hunting and fishing

Their hunting camp displayed several of the tools used for hunting and fishing. The guides passed around various animal skins so their softness could be felt.  The silky fur of a river otter felt the softest of all.

Three Sisters Garden

Three Sisters Garden

Gardens played an extremely important role in their life, with women being the gardeners. Their three main crops carried the name “The Three Sisters”. These three crops: corn, beans, and squash, depended on each other. The corn provided a stalk for the beans to wrap around, while the large leaves of the squash gave needed shade to keep the soil moist.

Being in charge of gardens by clearing the land of trees became the first order of business for the Indian woman. They killed the trees by hitting them with stones. Then pulled up the weeds as they loosened the soil with sharp stones. After planting the seeds, each hill of corn would be fertilized with one fish.

Protecting the garden was vital so they built an 8′-10′ fence with a lookout tower. Women and children took turns watching so neither man not beast could take their vegetables.

Atlatl Practice Area

Atlatl Practice Area

Hunting became the man’s contribution. Early hunting parties used an atlatl, which consisted of a handle with a hook or notch that propelled a spear with a swinging motion. Its pointed arrowhead succeeded in killing animals needed for food.

With the use of the atlatl,  hunters could throw the spear farther with more force than a regular arm motion. It took practice to hit the mark. Later bows and arrows became common.

A visit to Meadowcroft ensures a look into the past. The Smithsonian Institution has named it one of the  “Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans.”  Start your day at the Visitors’ Center to watch a film about the complex. Then visit each of the four special areas: Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Monogahela Indian Village, Frontier Area, and a Rural Village. Step back in time and enjoy the day.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter is found near Avella, PA off the beaten path. Your easiest bet might be to have your GPS guide you to 401 Meadowcroft Road in Avella, PA.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter Holds Early American History

Meadowcroft Welcome Center

Meadowcroft Welcome Center

This is no ordinary tourist spot! Near Avella, PA, hidden away in the mountains, stands a welcome center for the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. Go inside and watch a short video to hear the beginning of this 16,000 year old story. One visitor commented, “We wanted to see one of the oldest spots of human habitation in the United States.”

The site was first discovered back in 1950 by owner of the ground, Albert Miller. He had found some projectile points on his farm while taking a walk, but one day noticed a small artifact by a groundhog hole and decided to dig there. When Albert found bits of pottery and arrowheads buried, he felt like he was tearing pages out of a book, so the proper history could be read.

Dr. J.M. Adovasio from the University of Pittsburgh became interested and conducted the first professional research at the site.  More recent digs have been conducted by Adovasio at Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute using state-of-the-art equipment. It is considered to be one of the most carefully excavated sites in North America.

This rockshelter overhang provided shelter, as well as a vantage point, for early inhabitants from the time of George Washington back to 16,000 years ago. Archaeologists are studying traces of what those early cultures left behind so we can perhaps better understand those early people who lived in America.

Rockshelf Shelter

Stairs to Rockshelf Shelter

Getting out of your car at the Rockshelter, your eyes climb upward to the observation deck that has been built so visitors can get a closer look at the archaeological work being done. While today there is a long stairway for easy access, about ten years ago anyone wishing to climb to the rockshelter had to use a rope to help pull themselves up.

Archaeological Dig Site

Archaeological Dig Site

After a long climb to the top, visitors can see evidence of tools and campfires made by those early inhabitants thousands of years ago. The deck allows visitors to witness “Deep Hole”, where the oldest evidence exists. Rocks fell from the cliff above to cover many of the pieces of the past that are being uncovered today.

At the center of the dig, a fireplace was carefully excavated showing layers to make you smile. Starting at the top there was a layer of plastic bottles, then cans, beer and whiskey bottles, and finally clay bottles. This fireplace area was obviously used for relaxation purposes for generations.

These layers coincided with the people who stayed under this shelter for various reasons. Starting today and going back to George Washington’s time describes the most recent layers. Those deep layers describe life 16,000 years ago. While there is some skepticism over dates, they all admit that it was thousands of years ago.

View of Tags in Dig Site

View of Tags in Dig Site

Each find has been carefully tagged from spear points and arrowheads to bone fragments. This is one of the first sites that used computers in the archaeological field.  It is easy to see that much patience is needed in order to conduct this type of investigation. Sometimes they might work for months with a single-edge razor blade to scrape the rock from a piece of history.

Cross Creek

Cross Creek

After the climb back down, now the look at the Rockshelter gives you an idea of its purpose. The top seems a perfect place for a lookout to watch for approaching enemies, while under the rock cliff would be the perfect shelter for camping. Cross Creek cuts through the valley, and most likely cut through the sandstone surface of the rockcliff to help make it what it is today.

Searching for the past, helps us better understand the present.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter is found near Avella, PA off the beaten path. Your easiest bet might be to have your GPS guide you to 401 Meadowcroft Road in Avella, PA.

Or you can  take exit 17, Jefferson Ave (old exit 6) off I-70 West in Washington, PA. At the bottom of the ramp turn right. At the second light turn right onto Jefferson Ave. At the next light bear left onto 844. Follow 844 for 11 1/2 miles to the junction of 844 and 231 (just past Breezy Heights restaurant and driving range). Turn right onto 231 North. Go 1 1/2 miles to junction of 231 and 50. Turn left onto 50 West. Proceed 1 9/10 miles and turn right onto Fallen Timber Road. Go 1 3/10 miles and turn left onto Meadowcroft Road. Proceed 9/10 of a mile to Meadowcroft entrance on right. 

 

 

 

Mammoth Mound Mysteries Grave Creek Mound Complex

Mammoth Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, WV

Mammoth Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, WV

Step back in time, way back in time, to 200 BC.  Buried beneath the surface of this gigantic mound in Moundsville, West Virginia are ancient treasures from two thousand years ago.

Driving past this 62′ high mound, many people possibly see it merely as a big pile of dirt. But when you explore inside the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex located beside it, you discover surprises regarding this unusual structure in Moundsville near the Ohio River. For many it will get their mental wheels turning as they want to search for more information.

To get a better picture of the area in your mind, Grave Creek Mound, the largest conical mound in the United States, is 62′ high with a base of 240′ and was surrounded with a moat, which has since been filled in. There was only one way across the moat – an earthen path. This was part of a much larger ceremonial area, which seemed to begin at the Ohio River.

The mound was built over a period of 200 years with burial vaults at different layers.

The mound was built over a period of 200 years with burial vaults at different layers.

This Adena burial mound required a lot of work to move 60,000 Tons of earth to form this mound over a period of years.  Included are multiple burials at different levels from 250 – 150 BC. It appears to have been build in stages with most of the burials being by cremation.

Since it seems that people arrived on the Ohio River, there was what many called a Sacred Way leading from the river to The Mound. But the Way didn’t stop there, as it turned at right angles to an octagon shape, which is no longer in existence. This Sacred Way was actually paved back 2000 years ago…with mussel shells. How do we know this? When ground was moved for building the homes and stores in Moundsville, layers of mussel shells several inches thick were found along The Sacred Way. Hopefully, you are beginning to form a picture of what could have been.

Display at Grave Creek Mound of objects found during an early dig at the mound.

Display at Grave Creek Mound of objects found during an early dig at the mound.

Back in 1838, some curious amateurs decided to do a little exploring of their own and began digging into The Mound with gusto through two shafts, one horizontal and one vertical. Their discoveries were surprising, but they had little idea of how much historic information they had really pulled from the ground. A burial vault made of logs and smooth stones from the river was found in the center near ground level. It contained two skeletons with tools, beads, pipes and ornaments indicating these were important people in their culture.

A most amazing skeleton, which they named Tasach for reasons to be given later, appeared at the bottom layer of the earthen mound.  The items found either on his body or with his body were quite astonishing. Around its 7’2″ frame were pieces of sea shells- some scattered and others formed into beads. On the wrist were seven copper bracelets and around the waist was a band of small mica squares. What do all of these pieces mean?

Replica of Grave Creek Tablet

Replica of Grave Creek Tablet

To add to the mystery, near the second, smaller skeleton was a small, flat sandstone tablet with three lines of symbols indicating a form of communication during that long ago time. This has become known as the Grave Creek Tablet and one of many interpretations, but the one that seems likely in my mind reads:

“The mound raised on high for Tasach. This tile his queen caused to be made.”

My first thought was that perhaps Tasach was a leader of an ancient tribe.  Since copper and mica both resonate with healing qualities, perhaps he was considered a shaman. He may have appeared at the octagon shaped structure and greeted visitors, who came by boat on the Ohio River then walked the Sacred Way through the Mound and to the octagon.  It would seem this was perhaps a spiritual ceremony of some nature by people over 2000 years ago.  Remarkable! But that was just my interpretation. Wonder what ideas you might have?

Shortly after that early  excavation, in 1843 local enthusiasts decided to use the two excavation shafts into The Mound as a museum. In the horizontal bricked shaft was an underground exhibit of the skeleton discovered with his buried treasures as well as an early gift shop. Inside the vertical shaft, a spiral staircase was built to allow visitors a way to the top of the mound where a three-story observatory was constructed. The museum was short-lived as the walls came tumbling inward, but a second stone museum was built on the south side of the mound in 1941 with many of the items available for sale having been made by the prisoners at the penitentiary across the street.

Replica of Pre-Indian skull found in 1838 excavation

Replica of Pre-Indian skull found in 1838 excavation

Today’s modern museum is housed in the Grave Creek Mound Archeological Complex, which shares many of the mysteries of The Mound with visitors through exhibits and video presentations. It opens the mind to exploring the wonders of time before the Native American Indians. These early visitors on our lands had far reaching commerce as items were from all over the country and the world. Their architectural skills were amazing and nearly all of their structures were perfectly aligned mathematically with the sun , the moon, and the stars.

Where did these people come from?  Where did they go? The mysteries continue.

The Mound is located in Moundsville, West Virginia. Just ten miles south of Wheeling along the east bank of the beautiful Ohio River. From Wheeling, follow Route 2 into Moundsville. Turn left on 8th Street and after two blocks turn right onto Jefferson Ave. The mound is too large to miss!

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