Smithsonian Magazine names Meadowcroft Rockshelter one of the “Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans”

rockshelterMeadowcroft, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center’s museum system, was named one of the “Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans” by Smithsonian magazine. The site has become an international destination, welcoming 17,000 visitors from 41 U.S. states and 17 countries in 2013.

The National Historic Landmark, located in Avella, Pa. in Washington County, features a massive, 16,000-year-old rock overhang used by the region’s earliest inhabitants for shelter.

Traveling forward through time, Meadowcroft offers visitors the chance to experience what everyday life was like for Upper Ohio Valley inhabitants over the past 400 years.

Visitors to the 16th century Eastern Woodland Indian Village can step inside a wigwam, pound corn into meal, or try their hand at throwing the atlatl, a spear thrower used by prehistoric hunters.

Two new 1770s era structures help to spotlight the similarities and differences between the everyday lives of European settlers and American Indians in the Upper Ohio Valley. An open-sided log shelter represents the initial home and trading post of European settlers, while a log cabin shows how late 18thcentury American Indian families adopted European building techniques.

The Historic Village recreates all of the charming qualities of an Upper Ohio Valley Village from the mid-19th century. Visitors will come face-to-face with elements of everyday family life, such as watching a blacksmith forge red-hot iron or enjoying a lesson in the one-room schoolhouse.

Meadowcroft will offer special archaeology tours of the Rockshelter in the 2014 schedule along with the 6th annual American Indian Heritage Weekend:

Insider Tours of Meadowcroft Rockshelter: On select dates throughout the 2014 season, visitors can enjoy exclusive Insider Tours with James M. Adovasio, Ph.D., who achieved international acclaim with his archeological excavation of the Rockshelter in 1973. Dr. Adovasio will present a lecture and lead a special tour on the site on June 28, Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8.  For reservations, contact Frances Skariot at 724-587-3412 or

American Indian Heritage Weekend, Sept. 27-28: Visitors exploring Meadowcroft’s recreated Indian Village during this special weekend will encounter native artisans dressed like their ancestors as they demonstrate skills of everyday life. Visitors can also explore the interior of a wigwam, inspect carefully recreated prehistoric artifacts, learn about American Indian agriculture, and try their hand using an atlatl, a prehistoric spear thrower.

Throughout May, Meadowcroft is open Saturdays, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1 – 5:00 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, Meadowcroft is open Wed.-Sat., noon – 5:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens, and $6 for children ages 6-17. Children under 6 and History Center members get in free.

For more information on Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, please visit and click on the Meadowcroft tab or call 724-587-3412.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village operates in association with the Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania’s largest history museum.  Meadowcroft, a National Historic Landmark, is the oldest site of human habitation in North America and features a massive, 16,000-year-old rock overhang used by the region’s earliest inhabitants for shelter. Meadowcroft’s 19th century village features a covered bridge, one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, church, and two log houses that create a charming country village setting. The 16th century Indian Village includes wigwams, recreated prehistoric artifacts, and hands-on activities related to American Indian agriculture. Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village is located in Avella, Pa., Washington County, within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh, Wheeling, W.Va., and Steubenville, Ohio. For more information, please visit and click on the Meadowcroft tab.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest site of human habitation in North America.

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