Archaeology in Annapolis

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Archaeology in Annapolis was a city-wide excavation of Maryland’s capital city whose purpose was to recover and teach with the below ground remains of materials from the 1680’s to today. Archaeology in Annapolis is a part of the Department of Anthropology of the University of Maryland, College Park and has been, and in some cases remains, partners with Historic Annapolis Foundation, the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, and the City of Annapolis. The project was begun in 1981 and continues to work in the City and to excavate on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The project works to provide understanding of the many peoples who have made up the City in the past and present. Under the direction of Mark P. Leone, the organization has conducted over forty excavations in the historic area of Maryland’s capitol city as well as in Queen Anne and Talbot Counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, including Wye House Plantation. This collection includes archaeological site reports, technical reports, and dissertations produced by the project between 1985 and the present. Where possible, separate files for artifact catalogs have been provided.

A physical component of the collection is housed in the National Trust room of Hornbake Library on the University of Maryland campus. It contains copies of site reports, field notes, drawings, slides, contact sheets, photographs, historic research, oral history transcripts, artifact cataloging sheets, analytical notes, dissertations, scholarly and public papers, presentations, journal articles, administrative planning notes, correspondence, visitor evaluations, press releases, brochures, exhibition planning notes and grant proposals.

The Sites in this Collection Include:


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 86
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    Legacy Project #1741: Archaeological Survey of the United States Naval Academy Shoreline
    (1996-10-30) Aiello, Elizabeth A.; Seidel, John L.; Murphy, Larry; Russell, Matthew; Russo, Jean
    The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and Engineering Field Activity Chesapeake engaged in a cooperative agreement for the purpose of conducting a survey of the Naval Academy's shoreline. This survey was to include historical research and remote sensing investigations. The project location included the area from the Academy's Spa Creek boundary near City Dock, around the core of the property, up College Creek to the bridge on the Naval Academy which parallels the Dorsey Creek Bridge on King George Street, and around the shoreline of the Naval Medical Clinic to the old Severn River Bridge. Archival research produced information regarding land reclamation and acquisition by the Naval Academy since its establishment on Windmill Point, as well as the history of land use prior to the Academy's existence. The Naval Academy, established in 1845 on the grounds of Fort Severn, has had a significant effect upon the shoreline over the years. Lands along the waterfront have been used for a variety of purposes including defensive works, basins, docks and wharfage, and training exercises. Prior to 1845, the shoreline areas were used by civilians for such things as ferryboat landings, shipbuilding operations and docks. Past industrial activities include the existence of lumber yards and oyster packing plants. It is probable that traces of many of these resources exist beneath the "reclaimed" lands of the Academy and the water immediately fronting its shoreline. This investigation was undertaken to determine the extent of this possibility. Archival research yielded records of filling and dredging operations around the Academy. Cartographic research and the digitized map overlays revealed the location of earlier shorelines and shore installations, making it possible to highlight areas of potential archaeological sensitivity beneath the landfill. Further evidence of such buried resources came from other sources. Photographs were located at the Academy's Department of Public Works which show well-preserved "old sea walls" being uncovered during "new building" construction in 1919 on the grounds of the Academy. While documentary research concentrated on buried shorelines which are now inland, concealed beneath fill, other investigations concentrated upon the current waterline and river bottom adjacent to the Academy. Remote sensing operations detected 65 anomalies located in the waters of the Severn River, College Creek and the Annapolis Harbor off the Academy's shoreline. These anomalies were investigated by divers from the University of Maryland, College Park, with the assistance of volunteers. Anomalies were located using a Systematic Differential Global Positioning System and investigated by the dive team. Anomalies identified by the divers included anchors, anchor chain, and iron pipes of various sizes. The majority of the anomalies, however, are buried beneath the silt and sediment of the river; they could not be located without disturbance of bottom sediments.
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    Analysis of Faunal Remains Recovered From the Wye House Located in Talbot County, Maryland (18TA314)
    (2009-07) Bowen, Joanne; Andrews, Susan Trevarthen
    Identifying the ethnicity of an historic site can often be a challenging puzzle with many interlocking pieces of information. Looking just at the presence and absence of certain artifacts is not always reliable since the archaeological record has demonstrated that African Americans and whites of varying economic backgrounds often owned or had access to the same possessions. To determine the presence of slaves on historic sites, historical archaeologists have looked not only to the documentary evidence and architectural remains but also to distinguishing patterns in the archaeological record that help to define the ethnicity of a site. Specifically, faunal remains from known and probable slave sites have been closely examined in order to identify possible consumption patterns in the slave diet. One example of how faunal remains can provide information on slave diet is John Otto's classic study of faunal remains from Cannon's Point Plantation in Georgia. Otto analyzed and compared three assemblages (one belonging to a white overseer, one to slaves, and one to the white plantation owner) in order to define patterns of material culture specific to certain groups of people. He not only looked at the presence of species but also butchery marks, cuts of meat, and the differences in white and African cuisine. From his research, he defined slave assemblages has having a large percentage of chopped bone, the presence of mainly head and foot elements belonging to cattle and pigs, and a great diversity in the wild remains. Assemblages associated with whites included sawn bone, higher quality cuts of meat and smaller amounts of wild animals (Otto 1984). Since Otto's analysis, archaeologists have taken a closer look at his findings and have continued to redefine the patterns in species distribution, elements distributions, and butchery techniques found on slave-related sites (Fashing 2005; Bowen 2008). From their analysis some broad patterns have begun to emerge in the faunal assemblages of slave sites, including the relative importance of beef and pork in the diet, and a higher degree of bone fragmentation than in the white-related assemblages. Although broad patterns in slave faunal assemblages have emerged, it must also be recognized that slaves established their subsistence strategies based on the unique context of their circumstances and the physical surroundings in which they lived. For example, a slave working in the field might have access to a different foodway system than slaves working in the house. Furthermore, their relationship to the white owner, their availability to procure their own food, and their association with a local market system are all variables influencing the faunal remains left in the archaeological record. As more slave-related faunal assemblages are analyzed the variability between sites will be better understood and interpreted. For this reason, the faunal analysis of known slave assemblages is crucial to the growing database of slave related studies. In order to test some of the slave-related patterns found in faunal assemblages and to understand how subsistence patterns are formed, this report will examine faunal remains excavated from probable slave quarters and their surrounding yard. In the spring of 2009, Lisa Kraus and Dr. Mark Leone from the University of Maryland submitted for analysis faunal remains excavated from site 18TA314, historically known as the Wye House. Located along the Wye River in Maryland's Eastern shore, the site was originally settled in the 1650's by Edward Lloyd, a Welsh Puritan. In 1790 his great grandson built a plantation home which he owned until his death in 1796, when the estate was left to his son Edward V (Weeks 1984; Ydstie 2007).
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    Paca Garden Archaeological Testing, 18AP01, 186 Prince George Street, Annapolis, Maryland
    (1990-08) Galke, Laura J.; Little, Barbara J.
    During the summer of 1990, the brick canal which provides spring water for the Paca Garden pond was undergoing repair, providing the opportunity for archaeological excavation. The Paca property (18AP01) has been the subject of several archaeological investigations since the mid-1960s, but the lack of proper documentation made further investigations necessary. Three units were excavated and are described fully within this report. These units revealed that on the lower terrace of the Garden, no eighteenth or nineteenth-century layers exist to the south and east of the canal. Within the boundaries of the canal, nineteenth- and twentieth-century layers of fill were recovered. In addition, a few eighteenth century artifacts were recovered, providing some evidence for an eighteenth-century layer. Such information provides a clue to the construction techniques used to reconstruct the current garden. A summary of previous investigations and current findings are presented.
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    A Geophysical Survey at the Carroll House
    (1987-04-03) Bevan, Bruce W.
    The Charles Carroll House is located on the south side of historic Annapolis, where the Duke of Gloucester Street meets Spa Creek. Charles Carroll, the house builder's son, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The house is a part of the property for St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church and plans are being made for the historical renovation of the house and garden. This survey detected a possible well or other type of refilled pit on the south side of the house. Several likely paths, now buried, were delineated. See Figure 1. Many areas of fill soil were mapped. There appears to be a buried earth layer, possibly a garden bed or pavement, extending east-west across the site; this interface can be partly traced beneath a recently-constructed cemetery terrace. Concentrations of debris underground were also located. While some could be lenses of trash, others could help define lost structures. This geophysical survey did not detect anything of the tavern which might have formerly been at the east side of this site.