Archaeological Testing at Bostwick (18PR951), New Driveway Project, Bladensburg, MD

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In August of 2008, archaeologists and students at the Center for Heritage Resource Studies (CHRS) at the University of Maryland conducted a program of archaeological field survey at the historic Bostwick House. This survey resulted in the identification of six major activity areas of archaeological significance on the property. At this time it was decided that those six activity areas should receive special attention in any planning activities on the property. Historic Bostwick is located at the base of Lowndes Hill in Bladensburg, Maryland. Christopher Lowndes constructed the house around 1745. Lowndes was an early land developer as well as a merchant, shipbuilder, and slave trader, and he made Bladensburg the headquarters of his operation. The house continued to be occupied through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The property underwent significant changes in the early twentieth century, and nearby urban development has impacted the landscape as well. Currently the property is managed by a partnership between the Town of Bladensburg and the University of Maryland‟s Historic Preservation Program. These partners plan to rehabilitate the standing house structure and to turn the house into a destination for education and other activities. In the spring of 2009, the Town of Bladensburg developed plans to re-route the existing driveway at the Bostwick House, and replace it with a permeable surface accessible to emergency vehicles. Although the proposed Area of Potential Effect (APE) did not directly intersect with one of the six areas identified in the previous survey, it was determined that the potential existed for intact cultural resources to exist in the APE due to its proximity to one of the areas identified. In June of 2009, archaeologists and students from CHRS excavated four STP‟s and two test units within the new driveway‟s APE. Additionally, previously surveyed units were reexamined. The excavations did not reveal the presence of cultural features that might shed light on the nature of the activities conducted in the adjacent area. Excavations resulted in the recovery of artifacts related to all of the eras of Bostwick‟s occupation and confirmed the richness of the archaeological record present on the grounds. In May of 2010, CHRS archaeologists monitored the grading of the APE as part of the process of ensuring the archaeological heritage of Bostwick, Bladensburg and the State of Maryland would not be compromised in the building of this necessary modern alteration of the house‟s landscape. The preservation plan allowed archaeologists from the University of Maryland to mitigate aspects of the construction plan that may have affected sensitive areas identified during the initial survey.