Archaeological Investigations at the James Brice House (18AP38): A National Historic Site, 42 East Street, City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland

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Beginning in the summer of 1998, Archaeology In Annapolis performed a multi-phased archaeological investigation in and around the James Brice House, a National Historic Landmark with associated archaeological deposits (18AP38), located at 42 East Street in the historic District of the city of Annapolis, Maryland. The work was done under a series of contracts to the International Masonry Institute, owners of the structure. Funding for the project was provided by the IMI and the Maryland Historical Trust. A total of twenty-eight units were excavated during the initial portion of the project, and another four were excavated in support of a secondary project designed to rehabilitate the retaining wall located at the southern edge of the South Yard. In addition, several trenches excavated during construction at the site were profiled, and the lowering of the grade in the South Yard was monitored by Archaeology in Annapolis staff. Testing in the South Yard revealed evidence of a number of filling and landform modification episodes dating from the periods following construction of the Brice House up to the beginning of the twentieth century. Further evidence of twentieth century modification to the yard space was revealed in the form of a number of utility trenches and related features. Features related to no-longer extant stairs including brick piers and postholes were discovered in a number of areas. Finally, an oyster shell drainage feature and associated evidence of African-American religious practices were recovered from a trench and excavation unit at the western edge of the yard space. Excavation in the interior of the West Wing revealed the presence of three major stratigraphic units with a large number of associated structural and depositional features. The first of these depositional units consisted of twentieth century deposits associated with modification of the interior of the Wing, and the majority of this material had been recently disturbed. The second stratigraphic unit consisted of material associated with the construction of the Brice House between 1767 and 1773. The final stratigraphic unit in the West Wing consisted of structural features and a floor deposit dating to the early 18th century. This material is potentially related to a store owned by Captain John Brice and his son John Brice II. Excavations in the East Wing and Hyphen also revealed a number of stratigraphic units related to the initial construction and subsequent modification of the Brice House structure. In addition, a large deposit of late nineteenth and early twentieth century material associated with the religious practices of African-American occupants of the house was discovered beneath remnants of a brick floor in the interior of the East Wing.