Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village open for 2022 season

Programming includes longtime favorites and newer traditions
Opening on May 1 for the 2022 season, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest site of human habitation in North America.

Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center family of museums, will open for its 2022 season on Sunday, May 1.

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.

Meadowcroft to Host Exciting Lineup of Public Programs

Meadowcroft will offer a robust schedule of public programs during the 2022 season, including its annual atlatl competition where visitors can try the ancient spear-thrower, a day of 1860s baseball, and special insider tours of the Rockshelter.

  • Meadowcroft Atlatl Competition, June 18: 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. This year, members of the Shawnee tribe will discuss prehistoric hunting techniques and demonstrate tool production in our Monongahela Indian Village.
  • Independence Day Celebration, July 3: Celebrate the spirit of America with historical demonstrations and period games at Meadowcroft’s 18th-century frontier area and 19th-century rural village. 
  • Insider Tours of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, July 9, Sept. 3, Oct. 9, Nov. 5: Visitors can enjoy exclusive Insider Tours with James M. Adovasio, Ph.D., who achieved international acclaim with his archaeological excavation of the Rockshelter in 1973. Pre-registration required.
  • Vintage Base Ball Day, Aug. 20:

Come watch base ball (originally two words) 19th-century style with the Somerset Frosty Sons of Thunder, Addison Mountain Stars, and the Keystone Base Ball Club, who will use 1860s rules. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy America’s favorite pastime!

  • 19th-Century Chocolate, Aug. 27: Curious how chocolate has changed through the ages? Join us for this sweet look at how chocolate was produced and consumed during the 19th century and taste a sample.

Washington & Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival: Sept. 17-18: Visit Meadowcroft’s 1871 Pine Bank Covered Bridge during this free admission*, annual celebration of covered bridges. For more festival information, visit

  • Life with a Shawnee Family, Oct. 1-2: Learn about the Shawnee people by talking with a visiting Shawnee family, who will demonstrate some daily life skills of their ancestors in 18th-century Western Pennsylvania.
  • Walk in Penn’s Woods, Oct. 2: In cooperation with the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, Penn State, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as others across the commonwealth, Meadowcroft will serve as a host venue for a day of educational woodland walks, highlighting Pennsylvania’s forest and wildlife resources from prehistory to modern day.
  • Archaeology Day, Oct. 8: Ever wonder how archaeologists learn about everyday life for prehistoric people? Do you have an artifact you want professionally identified? As part of Pennsylvania Archaeology Month, archaeologists from the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology will present lectures and identify artifacts, accompanied by demonstrations of prehistoric technology. The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Meadowcroft’s Taffy Pull & Fall Celebration, Oct. 22: Join us for the final event of the season in one of our historic log houses to learn about historic confections while you make an old-fashioned sweet treat to take home. Pre-registration required.


Hours and Admission

Following its opening day on Sunday, May 1, 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. 30.

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 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. For more information, please visit and click on the Meadowcroft tab.