Phase II Archaeological Testing at the John Brice II House (18AP53), 195 Prince George Street, Annapolis, Maryland, 2013
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This report details the second archaeological excavation that took place at 195 Prince George Street, known as the John Brice II House or the Judge John Brice House. This two-story brick dwelling built by John Brice II is considered by some as a forerunner to the elaborate colonial homes built in Annapolis during the mid- to late-18th century. John Brice II was a public servant and also ran a small store in Annapolis. His family owned and lived in the property until the mid-19th century. The Halligan-Adair family purchased the home in 1917 and continues to occupy the property today. The first season of archaeological excavations was in the fall of 1989, and is detailed in a report written by Julie Ernstein (1990). The second season of excavations took place as part of the University of Maryland Summer 2013 Field School in Urban Archaeology. As part of this season of excavation, 10 shovel test pits were dug at approximately 20 foot intervals across the front and back yards of the property. Four 5’ x 5’ excavation units were placed in the backyard of the property. Only one of these units was excavated to sterile soil. The remaining three were covered with plastic landscaping tarp before being backfilled so that excavation of these units could continue in the future. The preliminary excavations of the John Brice II House show three large scale yard modifications to the backyard landscape, each roughly corresponding with the change in property owners. The oldest levels recovered from the backyard contained a late 18th oyster shell path and associated garden bed that are likely evidence of the landscaping features of the Brice Family occupation of the property. The 19th century archaeological occupation levels indicate a reorientation of the backyard landscape, and several large features dating to this time period were discovered in the last week of excavation. Further research is required to determine the exact nature and relationships of these features. Continued excavations have the potential to reveal more information about the changes in the urban landscape of Annapolis from the 18th century to the 21st century as well as information about the lives of the families who occupied this property.