Rediscovering New Ireland: locating 17th - 18th century Irish settlements in Cecil County, Maryland

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There has been little scholarship on the Irish in colonial American history. Fortunately, archaeology allows for the study of groups that are not well represented in the historical record through the analysis of their material remains. To initiate the study of this topic, the aim of this research was to locate archaeological sites associated with historically attested, late 17th and early 18th century settlements of Irish emigrants in Cecil County, Maryland. Historical information and aerial remote sensing data were analyzed in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to locate potential sites of buried and exposed structural remains in the areas where Irish settlement was recorded to have occurred. These sites were evaluated for their likelihood to be the remains of a structure built in the time period of Irish settlement. 23 sites of potential structural remains discovered in this study and 8 sites of structural remains discovered by previous research were determined significantly likely to be associated with the Irish settlements. Further archaeological research will be required to determine whether these sites actually contain structural remains dating to the late 17th or early 18th century. Archaeological excavation of the sites that contain these structural remains will yield information about the Irish emigrants who once occupied them. The level of wealth, diet, place of origin, and other information about the late 17th and early 18th century Irish community in Cecil County could be discovered. This new knowledge would contribute to the history of the Irish in America and the local history of Cecil County.