Meadowcroft is now open for 2023 Season
-The National Historic Landmark will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rockshelter’s first excavation-
Just an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, Meadowcroft is a National Historic Landmark in Avella, Washington County, Pa. Visitors of all ages can explore the Rockshelter, an archaeological wonder where the region’s earliest inhabitants dwelled more than 19,000 years ago.
A popular one-day getaway for families in the tri-state region, Meadowcroft takes visitors on a historic journey through three re-created villages:
- In the 16th-century Monongahela Indian Village, visitors can step inside a wigwam, test their skills with the atlatl (a prehistoric spear-thrower), and learn about American Indian agriculture.
- At the 18th-century Frontier Trading Post, they can examine 1770s-era buildings and discover how American Indians and European settlers learned from each other.
- In the 19th-century Meadowcroft Village, visitors can enjoy a lesson in a one-room schoolhouse and watch a blacksmith forge red-hot iron.
June 18 Marks 50 Years Since First Rockshelter Excavation
On June 18, 1973, Dr. James Adovasio led the first archaeological excavation of the famous Meadowcroft Rockshelter, where he and a team of other archaeologists, geologists, and anthropologists discovered unprecedented evidence of early human life dating back 19,000 years.
Under the direction of Adovasio, University of Pittsburgh field schools were conducted at Meadowcroft for six consecutive years in the 1970s and several times during the 1980s. Periodic excavations were conducted thereafter, including several weeks of work as recently as last summer.
The remarkable half-century of scientific investigation at Meadowcroft has made it one of the most intensely studied sites in the world.
On Sunday, June 18, 2023, at 1 p.m., Meadowcroft will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic excavation with a special Insider Tour of the Rockshelter, led by Dr. Adovasio himself.
Spaces are limited. Visitors are required to pre-register here online.
Meadowcroft to host exciting lineup of public programs
Meadowcroft will offer a robust schedule of public programs during the 2023 season, including the return of the site’s popular American Indian Heritage Weekend, the annual Atlatl Competition, 19th century style “base ball” games, and more:
- Washington County Free Museum Day, May 7: Visit Meadowcroft and surrounding Washington County museums during this free admission celebration of local history. Visit the official website for Free Museum Day here for more information.
- Vintage Base Ball Game, May 21: Come watch base ball (originally two words) 19th century style with the Ohio Village Muffins, one of vintage base ball’s oldest teams, using the 1860s rule book.
- Meadowcroft Atlatl Competition, June 17: Beginners are invited to try using the atlatl, a spear-thrower used by prehistoric hunters, and watch some of the world’s best competitors from the World Atlatl Association compete for high score. Members from the Shawnee tribe will come to discuss prehistoric hunting techniques and demonstrate tool production in the Monongahela Indian Village.
- Insider Tours of the Rockshelter, Multiple Dates: Visitors are invited to attend exclusive Insider Tours of the Rockshelter with Dr. James Adovasio on Sunday, June 18, at 1 p.m. and Saturdays, July 15, Aug. 5, and Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. Online reservations are required at heinzhistorycenter.org/events.
- Independence Day Celebration, July 2: Celebrate the spirit of America with historical demonstrations and period games at Meadowcroft’s 18th century frontier area and 19th century rural village.
- Vintage Base Ball Day, Aug. 19: Come watch base ball 19th century style with the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder and the Addison Mountain Stars using the 1860s rules.
- Washington & Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival, Sept 16-17: Visit Meadowcroft’s 1871 Pine Bank Covered Bridge during this annual celebration.
- American Indian Heritage Weekend, Sept. 23-24: Learn about the American Indian cultures that once dwelled in the areas by speaking with visiting members of the region’s native tribes.
- Walk in Penn’s Woods!, Oct. 1: In cooperation with the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, Penn State, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and others, Meadowcroft will serve as a host venue for the day of educational woodland walks to highlight Pa.’s forest and wildlife resources from prehistoric to modern day.
- Archaeology Day, Oct. 7: Ever wonder how archaeologists learn about everyday life for prehistoric people? Do you have a suspected artifact you want professionally identified? As part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month, archaeologists from the Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology will present lectures and identify your artifacts, accompanied by demonstrations of prehistoric technology.
- Meadowcroft’s Taffy Pull & Fall Celebration, Oct. 21: Join us in one of our historic log houses to learn about historic confection while you make an old-fashioned sweet treat to take home. Limited space is available, and an additional program fee applies. Advanced reservations are recommended.
More information on Meadowcroft public programs can be found online at heinzhistorycenter.org/events.
Hours and Admission
Following its opening day on Saturday, May 6, Meadowcroft is open on weekends, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Memorial Day. During the summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) the site is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following Labor Day, the site is open on weekends until Oct. 29.
All events are included as part of the regular admission price at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for senior citizens, and $7 for children ages 6-17. Children under 6 and History Center members get in free. For more information, visit heinzhistorycenter.org/meadowcroft 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 rock overhang used by the region’s first inhabitants for shelter as early as 19,000 years ago. 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.