The culture of the Valley’s First People will be the topic of the Augusta County Historical Society’s Spring Meeting to be held live and virtually at the Wayne Theatre on Sunday March 28 at 3 p.m.
Dr. Dennis Blanton, James Madison University associate professor of anthropology and historical society board member, will present “Mounds in Our Midst: The Ancient Monuments of the Valley's First People.”
Eight centuries ago, Augusta County was at the hub of a Native American territory marked by numerous earthen mounds. The practice of mound-building was quite unique to this part of Virginia and it did not occur for long. At least a dozen of these special burial places were created and they are concentrated within a 35-mile radius of today's Staunton. Those mounds intrigued the Valley’s first European settlers and they continue to intrigue us today. Dr. Blanton’s talk will explore the nature and the meaning of the mounds, and what they ultimately say about the Native society that chose to build them.
Blanton, who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia, his master’s at Brown, and his PhD at the University of Virginia, is an expert on early colonial and Native American cultures of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. His archaeological research has been published in numerous books and journals. His latest book, Conquistador’s Wake: Tracking the Legacy of Hernando de Soto in the Indigenous Southeast, was published in 2020 by the University of George Press.
The spring meeting and program, which is open to all as a “pay what you will event,” will be live at the theater and simultaneously offered on Zoom and streamed on the ACHS Facebook page. There will be a short historical society business meeting prior to Dr. Blanton’s program. Those who wish to attend in person at the state-of-the-art restored Wayne Theatre can rest assured that the theater provides the highest possible level of COVID precautions as directed by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Facemasks are required and social distancing is created by spacing out seating areas. For those who wish to watch at home, an invitation link will be sent out prior to the meeting and will be posted on the historical society’s Facebook page as well as the Wayne Theatre page.
The ACHS was founded in 1964 to study, collect, preserve, publish, educate about, and promote the history of Augusta County and its communities. More information is available online at www.augustacountyhs.org.