Area’s deep history discussed at meeting

WEIRTON – While much of the focus on the history of the area is on the last few hundred years, mankind actually has been calling the Upper Ohio Valley home for thousands of years.

Visitors to the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center on Thursday learned about some of that history and the archaeological investigations in the region as part of a presentation by Robert Maslowski, Ph.D.

Maslowski, a native of Weirton and graduate of Weirton Madonna High School, is a retired archaeologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who has worked on projects throughout West Virginia and other parts of the United States. He also participated in work performed in Cyprus, Israel, Laos and Vietnam.

Maslowski explained some of the earliest archaeological discoveries in the Weirton area were made in the late 1700s and include the Brown’s Island petroglyphs recorded by Benjamin Smith Barton in 1785, and the Half Moon petroglyphs found by James McBride in 1838.

Other sites have included a cave south of Weirton, Globe Hill, Marland Heights and a site near the Highland Hills area of Follansbee.

Items discovered have included various tools, pottery, animal bones and human burial sites, with evidence dating prior to 3,000 B.C.

“You have the entire archaeological sequence of the Ohio Valley,” Maslowski said.

A stone mound was found on the Watson Farm property in Hancock County, which had served as a field school for the University of Pittsburgh.

Also, traces of a Monongahela Village were found at the Chad Pickens Field site by Bill Buker in 1963. Many of the items Buker found, according to Maslowski, currently are housed at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

“It’s a very extensive collection that’s never been looked at,” he said.

Maslowski said studies of all of the sites showcase the development of tools and weapons, as well as the sharing of various technologies between groups from throughout West Virginia, Michigan and along the East Coast.

“Many of these sites were occupied several times,” Maslowski said.

Maslowski shared pictures of arrow and spear points, pottery, bone fragments and other items found during various investigations in the area, and explained the majority of archaeology in West Virginia is now performed as part of work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during river and highway projects.