CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Darla
Spencer, registered professional archaeologist, will present "Early Native
Americans in West Virginia: The Fort Ancient Culture" in the Archives and
History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston on
Thursday, April 20. The program begins at 6:00 p.m. and is free and open to the
The hills and valleys of what is
now West Virginia were occupied by native people long before the first
Europeans entered the Ohio Valley. Since Europeans came to the area in the
and archaeologists have struggled to identify the people who once lived here.
West Virginia was described as an "Indian hunting ground" with no
long-term occupations by early native people. However, it is now known that
people hunted and inhabited the state for at least 10,000 years before the
arrival of Europeans. Along the major rivers, farmers cannot plow their fields
without exposing stone tools and other evidence of the native people who once
The people known as Fort Ancient
occupied the Ohio Valley including southern West Virginia between approximately
A.D. 1000 and sometime in the late 1600s. Spencer's presentation will describe
what is currently known about the Fort Ancient people in West Virginia and
their culture, including how and where they lived, and show some of the
material culture or artifacts they left behind.
Darla Spencer has researched the
archaeology and early Native American history of West Virginia for more than 20
years. In 2002, she was awarded the Sigfus Olafson Award of Merit by the West
Virginia Archeological Society (WVAS) for her contributions to West Virginia
archaeology. Spencer is secretary and treasurer of the WVAS and a member of the
board of directors of the Council for West Virginia Archaeology. Her first book
on the Fort Ancient culture of West Virginia was published in 2016.
Patrons may park behind the
Culture Center after 5 p.m. on April 20 and enter the building at the back
loading dock area. There also is limited handicapped parking available in the
new bus turnaround.