Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rebuilding a Village

Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum has been open for thirteen years. The village has survived through blizzards, droughts, floods, and heat waves. It is now getting a face-lift. Some of our wigwams have taken heavy damage and are currently being repaired.

When the wigwams were originally built they were made from bent saplings and fiberglass with a resin coating. They let in light and were quite beautiful from the inside but were extremely hot in the summer and inaccurate in design. The new dwellings will be made from a combination of old and new materials. We're replacing the fiber glass with Flexi-bark. (For those wondering why we're not using real bark: It's because it must be replaced every few years and we are trying to be conservative with our resources.) The bottom of poles for wigwams and the palisade are charred to ward off insects and help keep moisture from damaging them.

This model represents the frame of one of the new dwellings. It is accurate according to the archaeological dig's specs. (And there is some Flexi-bark right behind it. WHOA. Looks like real bark!) In the top-most photo you can see Sam hard at work repairing the palisade wall. Later this summer we will have vines and saplings interwoven into it to make a protective wall around the village.

We're currently accepting donations to help finish the village. :) Anything you can donate to us will really be appreciated! Things we can use are:
- all sizes bamboo poles (or river cane- dry or alive)
- tanned animal hides
- matting from natural materials
- hand tools for gardening
- hand auger
- stones for tool-making (flint, obsidian, etc.)

Introduction to Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum is located in Bastian, Virginia in Southwest Virginia. We are a museum based upon an actual archeology site known as the Brown-Johnston site. The site was discovered in 1970 during the process of construction of Interstate 77.Our recreated Indian village was first built in 1996 using a combination of man made and natural materials. The village structures were placed according to the actual site map. A combination of weather and size eroded the structures over the years.

We are now “rethinking” the building of the village. The first reconstruction did mimic size, but it did not mimic all the actual features or the posts of each structure. Through new research about American Indian architecture we are rediscovering our village site in a different light in the second reconstruction. We are taking each and every feature and post and place them to have the village teach us how it was built. Though we cannot know for certain how it was exactly built, we can say we have each and every post or feature represented.

It is looking at our site with new eyes. We hope to have the village reconstruction completed in 3 years if funding and volunteer muscle can be found.

To get to the village from the museum you must take a little walk down the hill. On your way you can see wildflowers, chipmunks, various trees (some labeled for your education), and upon crossing the bridge - a glorious patch of skunk cabbage.

The inside of the pottery wigwam contains everything needed to make clay pipes, bowls, beads, and more. The best part of making pottery is getting into the creek to collect the clay. :)

Bethany weeding one of the small gardens inside the palisade wall.

Wolf Creek in the winter time.