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Delf Norona

Amateur archeologist Delf Norona (April 14, 1895-April 12, 1974) was born in Hong Kong. Norona spent the majority of his early life in the Philippine Islands. A British subject, he emigrated to Canada as a young man and then moved to the United States, where he served in the U.S. Army during World War I. After leaving the service, Norona taught himself shorthand and served as a court reporter. In 1930, he moved to West Virginia.

Norona’s greatest contribution was his intense interest in the Grave Creek Mound, archeology, and history. In 1949, he and others formed the West Virginia Archeological Society, and he served as an officer for many years. Instrumental in the development and construction of the Mound Museum in 1952, Norona served as its curator until the day of his death in Moundsville. In 1965, Norona became the first recipient of the Sigfus Olafson Award for his outstanding contributions to West Virginia archeology. He wrote numerous articles for West Virginia History and West Virginia Archeologist. He also served as the president of the West Virginia Historical Society and as secretary of the American Philatelic Society. The modern museum at the Grave Creek Mound was named the Delf Norona Museum in his honor.

Written by Patrick D. Trader


  1. Comstock, Jim, ed. West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia vol. 16. Richwood: Jim Comstock, 1976.