CULTURAL LANDSCAPES AND HISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE RILEY TRACT, ROCK CREEK PARK, WASHINGTON DC
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Rock Creek Park is an urban forest within the District of Columbia and is administered by the National Park Service. Before it was established in 1890, much of the area was farmed by a diverse group of landowners and tenants, including William Riley owned 100 acres in what is now the northern section of the park. Today this area is used regularly by hikers, runners, dog-walkers, and horseback riders and is informally referred to as the "wilderness" area of the park. Many believe it is a natural forest, unaware of the land's history. Left relatively undisturbed for years, this heavily wooded parkland contains intact historical archaeology resources and cultural landscapes. Survey of the Riley tract located several cultural landscape features including a stone wall, a dam, two terraced.fields, and a vineyard. Two previously recorded 19th-century sites were also revisited and further characterized. The research located the site of an earlier tenancy, likely late 18th-century, as well as evidence of three 19th -century structures. Many of the newly discovered structures and landscapes features are associated with the late 19th-century Riley farmstead. The research demonstrates that the Riley tract contains extensive evidence of 18th and 19th-century workplaces, and parkland should be interpreted not just as a natural area but recognized for the extensive human component evident in its intact cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.