The site was excavated from 1973 until 1978 by a University of Pittsburgh team led by James M. Adovasio. Radiocarbon dates from the site indicated occupancy as early as 16,000 years ago and possibly as long as 19,000 years ago. The "Clovis First" camp has tried to dispute the age of the findings, but generally their efforts have been dismissed. Although the dates are still controversial to some, archaeologists familiar with evidence from the site agree that Meadowcroft was used by Native Americans in the pre-Clovis era, and as such, provides evidence for very early human habitation of the Americas. In fact, if the 19,000 years ago dating is correct, Meadowcroft Rockshelter is the oldest known Native American cultural site. Seeing as the site fails Hayne's criteria for dating Paleoindian sites in the Americas as the site could potentially have been contaminated by natural carbon at the site the age of 19,000 years could be significantly older than the real age.
Meadowcroft Rockshelter has yielded Woodland, Archaic and Paleoindian remains, indicating evidence of the processing of animals, such as deer, elk, bird eggs, and mussels; as well as plants such as corn, squash, fruits, nuts and seeds. The site also has yielded many tools, including ceramics, bifaces, biface fragments, lamellar blades, a lanceolate projectile point and chipping debris. At least one basin-shaped hearth was reused over time.
It was given the name Meadowcroft from the nearby Meadowcroft Village historical park. Although sometimes referred to as "Meadowcroft Rock Shelter", the more accepted and popular term is "Meadowcroft Rockshelter".
Following construction of a new observation deck and enclosure, The Rockshelter had a reopening on May 10, 2008.
GRAVE CREEK MOUND IN MOUNDSVILLE TO PRESENT 'TELLING A BIG STORY: PRESERVATION AND PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE MEADOWCROFT ROCKSHELTER AND HISTORIC VILLAGE' ON APRIL 26
Apr 18, 2012; MOUNDSVILLE, W. Va., April 16 -- The West Virginia Division of Culture and History issued the following news release: A...