Final Report on the National Geographic Society: Archaeology of Town Planning in Annapolis, Maryland, NGS Grant Number 3116-85

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The purpose of the research supported by this grant was to refine our understanding of the Baroque town plan of Annapolis, Maryland through archaeology. The plan of 1695, which was prepared under the supervision of Royal Governor Francis Nicholson, has long been considered one of the most sophisticated and best preserved town plans in Colonial North America (Figure1). The town plan is well understood synchronically through the work of a number of scholars, but the plan was less well understood in terms cf its gradual development and alteration over the almost three centuries since it was laid down. Therefore, a primary goal of our work was the initiation of a diachronic understanding of town planning in Annapolis. Further, while the joint Historic Annapolis/ University of Maryland, College Park program called "Archaeology in Annapolis;" had established that a large part of the archaeological record of Annapolis was intact, no one knew how much of the original and subsequent street patterns could be recovered archaeologically, nor exactly how one could go about that. Therefore, the second aspect of this project was to establish a set of methods to document street and lot borders. Such a project was urgent since the city of Annapolis plans to dig trenches throughout the core of the Nicholson Plan to bury utility wires. Among other things, these utility trenches provided an opportunity to understand how the third dimension of a Baroque town plan, depth, was handled. This work will allow us to see how the plan was used through time to structure activities and in turn how it was altered to better suit them.