Phase II Archaeological Testing on Wye Greenhouse (18TA314), Talbot County, Maryland, 2008
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From October 27, 2008 to November 24, 2008 staff from the Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), Archaeology in Annapolis Project, conducted archaeological testing on the Wye House Greenhouse (18TA314), Talbot County, Maryland. This Phase II investigation has been conducted at the request of the Greenhouse’s current owner, Mrs. Mary Tilghman, prior to planned Greenhouse foundation stabilization efforts. The project area for this Phase II archaeological investigation comprises the immediate exterior perimeter of the Wye Greenhouse foundation. Seven test units were excavated in the course of this project to evaluate archaeological integrity and to evaluate the potential effects of planned stabilization efforts on archaeological resources. In addition to questions of archaeological integrity, research questions guiding this project focused on the architectural development of the Wye Greenhouse as well as its social use, both by members of the Lloyd family and the plantation’s enslaved African-American inhabitants. Background historical research and oral histories differ concerning the Greenhouse’s initial date of construction. Historical research suggests a construction date of the c. 1770s, while oral histories suggest an initial date of construction of c. 1740s. Archaeological testing has shown that the Greenhouse underwent two major developmental phases—with the main block of the Greenhouse having been constructed in the 1770s and the East and West Wings and hypocaust system added in the mid 1780s. In addition to providing evidence of the Greenhouse’s structural change, levels and features excavated in the course of this project have shed light on the social use of the Wye Greenhouse throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Artifact deposits analyzed in this report detail the Lloyd family’s use of the Greenhouse as both a social space and as a symbol of 18th century opulence. Artifact analyses also shed light on the use of the Greenhouse’s north shed as a slave quarter from the 1790s through the 1840s. Testing in the course of this project has concluded that there is a high degree of archaeological integrity within the project’s area of potential effect. In addition, testing has determined that intact archaeological resources have the distinct potential to add a considerable depth of historical knowledge concerning the Greenhouse’s structural change and social use throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Archaeological evidence detailed in this report should be read as supporting evidence for the Greenhouse’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.