September 17, 2019

2019 Fall ASM Meeting

Archeological Society of Maryland Annual Fall Meeting
Sponsored by the Charles County Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc

Saturday October 5 (8:30am-3:20pm)
Maryland Veterans Museum
11000 Crain Highway,  Newburg, MD  map
      8:30  Registration (continental breakfast)
      9:00  Welcome
                Carol Cowherd
      9:05  ASM Business Meeting
               Don Housley
      9:55  William B Mayre Award
    10:00  Time to View Chapter Displays
    10:20  Break

    10:30  2019 Frederick L. Stiner Memorial Lecture
               What's New in Charles County: Overview of the County Archaeology Program 
               Esther Doyle Read, County Archaeologist, Charles County Planning

    11:15  Run of the Mill: History and Archaeology of Maryland Mills 
               Dr. James G Gibb, Gibb Archaeological Consulting
    11:45  Maryland Veterans Museum 
    12:00  Lunch** 
               (Time to visit Museum)

     1:30  Archaeology and Community Collaboration: 
              Researching Black History in Prince George’s County 
              Dr. Kristin Montaperto, Chief Archaeologist, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning
     2:00  From Port Tobacco River (MD) to Portobago Bay (VA): 
              Exploring Native Movement and Mobility through an Archaeological Lens 
              Dr. Julia A King, Professor of Anthropology, St. Mary's College of Maryland 
     2:30  Break
     2:40  Serendipity and a Lost Opportunity: An Adena Artifact Found in Charles County
              Carol Cowherd, Charles County Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc
     3:10  Closing Remarks

    Cost:  $5.00 for ASM or CCASM members,  $8.00 for general public,  Free for students with ID 

    Directions:  From La Plata, MD, continue south on US 301 past the Museum, which is on the east side of the divided highway.  Make a U-turn at Budds Creek Road (MD-234) red light, and continue north.  Turn right onto the road to the Museum.

    ** Bring your own lunch or
         Box Lunch Order Form  Money and form must be received by October 1  (no refunds)

    2019 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec )

    CCASM is working with Charles County at the ongoing Public Archaeology Lab Days.  The lab is for processing artifacts recovered from various archaeology initiatives in Charles County -  including processing artifacts recovered recently from Stagg Hall as well as those recovered in the 1970's around the Courthouse.  Esther Read is the archaeologist in charge.

    Open to the general public.   No experience is required. 

    Location: Courthouse or Burch House in Historic Port Tobacco Village  map
    Note: During nice weather lab is outside at Burch House.  Otherwise on second floor of the Courthouse. 

    Next dates: 
             Monday,   Sep 23  (11am - 3:30pm)
             Monday,   Sep 30  (11am - 3:30pm)
             Monday,   Oct  7   (11am - 3:30pm)

    September 16 Denise, Mary, Linda, Janna, and Carol processed numerous small bags of artifacts - sorting and bagging those that had been washed last week and washing additional ones.  All the artifacts were from the Port Tobacco collection.  We choose this ceramic rim from BF-1-3 as the artifact of the day.

    On September 9 Denise, Linda, Mary, Elsie, and Carol completed bagging the artifacts recovered from an area behind a historic house in the Mount Vernon view shed.  Esther catalogued the artifacts and indicated 270+ had been recovered.

    Since there was still lab time left, we also washed artifacts from the Port Tobacco collection.  And we chose this pressed glass goblet stem from BF1 as the artifact of the day.  At the top of the fragment a small amount of the pressed design can be seen.  This slightly pink color occurs when glass decolored with manganese dioxide is exposed to uv light.

    August 26 Mary, Denise, Linda, Janna, and Carol washed the artifacts that we had recovered from an area behind a historic house in the Mount Vernon view shed.  (See Fieldwork near Potomac River)  It's always interesting when washing an artifact reveals something not expected - a possible fire cracked rock turns out to be part of a dark gray brick or another dirt-covered artifact turns out to be a prehistoric pottery fragment.  Historic ceramics can be somewhat easier to identify in the field, especially when they are white.  That was the case with the artifact of the day - part of a hand painted Chinese export porcelain lid. 

    Mary, Linda, Carol, and Esther spent most of the August 19 lab getting ready for fieldwork on land near the Potomac River,  The work was requested by the Historic Preservation Commission.  Then we sorted and bagged artifacts to free up two additional drying screens for any artifacts recovered this weekend.  It always important to maintain the provenience in the screens.  But we didn't forget the artifact of the day.  We choose this fragment of a hand-painted Chinese export porcelain plate.
    On August 5 Linda, Luke (Linda's grandson), Mary, Janna, and Esther picked up more artifacts from the Courthouse.  The cabinets on the rafters in the Courthouse attic had finally been moved (Thanks to Charles County), and we can now get into them!  Looks like lots of this stuff is labeled...BF1. A few labelled PT were also noted.  We will continue to dig through paper work looking for documentation for all the other numbers found on artifacts.  We chose this Rhenish stoneware tankard rim fragment with an incised checkered motif as the artifact of the day.
    Thanks to Esther for the info, and Mary for the photo.

    Only Mary and Denise were at lab on July 29 - several people enjoying family or vacations with another being under the weather. We spent most of the time at the courthouse researching and gathering items for the event on Saturday at Port Tobacco, but did not get an opportunity to choose artifact of the day.
    Thanks to Mary for info.

    July 22 Mary, Denise, Linda, Janna, and Carol continued bagging and sorting artifacts.  There were a number of metal artifacts - some rusty iron and some copper alloy.  Our artifact for the day is this half of a copper alloy object.  We thought is might be part of a lamp or a candlestick.  And Esther continued working on her report.

    On July 15 Elsie, Mary, Janna, and Carol sorted and bagged artifacts, washed ceramics and glass, and dry brushed some more rusted artifacts.  It's time for another trip to the attic for more artifacts.  Once again we chose to work outside on a shaded picnic table.  We selected a rusty mule shoe that still had the remains of three nails as the artifact of the day. 
    The July 8 Lab was delayed an hour because of traffic problems caused by the heavy rain.  The Lab was held in the Courthouse.  Only Esther, Linda, Janna, and Elsie were able to make it.   After examining the sketch from the 1970 Mathay Report about the Port Tobacco investigation, we started getting ready to catalog the artifacts from PT2.  Elsie and Jenna sorted and merged the many bags from PT2 102 into similar categories.  Linda and Esther assembled a new shelving unit so we could reorganize the artifact boxes from both Rich Hill and Port Tobacco.  We chose this knife blade recovered from PT2 102 as the artifact of the day.  (As you probably already guessed, the sharpie is only for reference.)
    Thanks to Elsie for the photo and the information.

    On July 1 Linda, Elsie, and Carol sorted and bagged artifacts outside on the picnic table.  For the "artifact of the day" we decided to share this photo of rusty iron artifacts that had been found together in a bucket in the attic.  There is no provenience, but there are a lot of recognizable (or almost recognizable) objects.  Since they were iron, they had not been washed.  Instead Linda had dry brushed them on a previous lab day.
    Around lunch we had a visitor, Joe, who brought his research and artifacts to share.  Esther and Joe spent the afternoon talking about what he had brought. 

    2019 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2018 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2018 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2017 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2017 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2016 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2016 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2015 Public Archaeology Lab Days

    September 14, 2019

    Protecting the Upper Chesapeake Bay: Fort Hollingsworth (1813-1815)

    James Gibb
    On September 12 at the first CCASM meeting this fall Dr. James Gibb talked about Fort Hollingsworth, a small breastwork on the Hollingsworth property in Cecil County, Maryland.  He explained the reasons the local citizens felt the need to erect a fort at this location in April 1813 as a means to protect their property and the Upper Chesapeake Bay from the British during the War of 1812.  After the war the fort was demolished, and the land returned to farming.

    Jim showed how geophysical methods were used to locate the fort and how field investigations during as Archeological Society of Maryland field session ground-truthed those findings.

    James Gibb is the principal of Gibb Archaeological Consulting as well as a Smithsonian Research Associate.  Jim is also one of the founding members of CCASM.
    Attendance: 11

    August 26, 2019

    Fieldwork near the Potomac River

    On August 24 and 25 CCASM volunteers worked with Charles County archaeologist Esther Read to investigate an area behind a historic house in the Mount Vernon view shed.  Additional construction was planned in that area, and the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission had requested that Esther investigate before construction could proceed.

    Eighteen shovel test pits were dug.  Various historic ceramics, a couple of prehistoric ceramic fragments, bricks, rusted nail fragments, and some worked lithics were found.  Once the artifacts recovered are processed at the Monday Lab, Esther will put together the report.

    CCASM members volunteering included Denise, Joe, Linda, Doug, Mary, Janna, and Carol.

    July 5, 2019

    July 4th at Smallwood Retreat

    On a hot July 4 afternoon CCASM was at Smallwood Retreat for an Independence Day event.  We brought a display highlighting archaeological investigations at an eighteenth century house as well as a few colonial artifacts.  There were not that many people attending, but we did have a visit from General Smallwood (Mike Callahan).  And a potter stopped by to give us insights into one of the usual artifacts we had brought.

    We had two new activities especially for the day - making a flag star to wear and mending two broken flag "plates".

    There was "colonial' music for part of the afternoon.  As you can see, a number of people were in colonial costumes, including Rose and George representing the Friends of Maxwell Hall.  And, of course, there were tours of the Smallwood Retreat house and of the garden.

    Thanks to Elsie and Carol for representing CCASM.  (Photos were provided by Elsie, Frank, and Carol.)

    June 28, 2019

    A Visit ot the The Southern Maryland Resource Center

    Thursday, June 27, four CCASM members visited the Archives at the Southern Maryland Resource Center (SMRC) at the College of Southern Maryland in LaPlata to learn more about the excavations that took place in Port Tobacco prior to the Courthouse being re-constructed.  We had been told that all notes, etc. taken during the excavation had been given to John Wearmouth, and his papers were at SMRC.  It took us all afternoon to look through four boxes that looked most promising.  We were not the first to look at these papers.  But you often learn more when you do the research yourself rather than relying on the notes of others.  And you never know if you will find something, others have overlooked.  Also it was the first time several of us had visited the archives.

    We found a number of reports and photos pertaining to the excavations in the area of the Courthouse.  There was a grid indicating how the 10' squares were identified.  When the artifacts were labelled, a PTn number was used rather that the longer square identification.  The draft report mentions a site log as well as the catalog cards that associated the PT number with the location on the grid.  These were missing. There were no reports associated with the excavations around the St Charles Hotel, but there was an analysis of pipe stems found there as well as their general location, e.g. trench north of hotel .  Also there was no mention or reference to the excavations around the Ferguson Store (the area associated with the BF1 artifacts).

    We did not have time to look at another box (or boxes) that had not been entered into the database.  So another trip will be needed.  And several of us identified documents related to other research we were doing that warranted another trip to the archives.   

    It was an interesting, worthwhile visit, and those at the SMRC were quite helpful.

    June 25, 2019

    2019 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June )

    CCASM worked with Charles County at the ongoing Public Archaeology Lab Days in Port Tobacco.  The lab continues to process artifacts recovered from various archaeology initiatives in Charles County -  including processing artifacts recovered recently from Stagg Hall as well as those recovered in the 1970's around the Courthouse.  Esther Read is the archaeologist in charge.

    Here is what we did in the first half of 2019.

    On June 24 Linda and Mary were joined by Janna, a new volunteer, as they washed artifacts in the morning.  They choose this very thin bone five-hole button as the artifact of the day. 
    In the afternoon Esther, Linda, and Mary walked the woods on the newly acquired Charles County property north of the Port Tobacco Courthouse.  Last time we walked this property we found a lot of tires.  Since then over 460 tires have been removed from the property.
    Thanks to Mary for the photos. 

    After a week off Denise, Linda, Mary, Carol, and Esther returned to the picnic tables outside Burch House on June 17.  While Esther worked on reports, Denise, Mary, and Carol sorted and bagged artifacts, Linda brushed rust and dirt from metal artifacts.  Evelyn stopped by at lunch for what may be her last time before she leaves the state.  As indicated last week we are starting to process artifacts that were not recovered from BF1.  We chose this fragment of a yellowware vessel (pie pan?) with a blue glazed interior for the artifact of the day.   

    June 3 Denise, Linda, Mary, Elsie, and Carol worked on the picnic tables outside Burch House- some washing artifacts and some sorting and bagging artifacts in the drying trays while Esther continued on her report (also outside on the picnic table so she could answer our questions.)  Only one or two of the labelled artifacts were from the BF1 area where many of our other artifacts had been recovered.  These artifacts were from areas like PTn Grid nnn.  The artifact for the day is this mended stoneware bottle from 520-S-10 (not sure where that is in Port Tobacco).  The information stamped on the bottle is "VITREOUS STONE BOTTLE" "J. BOURNE & SON" "PATENTEES" "DENBY POTTERY" "NEAR DENBY" "------" "P. & J. ARNOLD" "LONDON".  This Denby Pottery Mark dates to the second half of the nineteenth century.  P & J Arnold were one of the pioneering companies in the ink industry in Great Britain and had brown stoneware master inks in several sizes.  Master inks were used to fill smaller ink containers.

    May 20 Evelyn and Carol worked inside and bagged artifacts that had been washed the week before.  Denise and Elsie washed additional artifacts outside while Linda brushed nails and other rusted metal objects.  The artifact of the day is the base from a scratch blue white salt-glazed cup or small bowl. However, the design is not scratched into the bottom, but rather it is stamped.

     May 13 was wet and dreary.  Evelyn, Elsie, and Carol continued cataloging artifacts from Port Tobacco while Esther worked on her report.  The artifact for the day was this piece of Astbury type earthenware.  A design has been scratched into the white slip.   Astbury is a good time-marker for the second quarter of the 18th century (Noel Hume).

    May 6 was a beautiful day.  So Denise, Evelyn, Elise, Mary, and Carol set outside Burch House on the picnic tables and washed Port Tobacco artifacts.  The artifact for the day was a piece of blue and gray stoneware with sprig molding.  The sprig molding has a small flower and the letters "Roo" followed by what appears to be a "k" or an "lc".  The "Roo" may be preceded by an "H" or an "A".

    On April 29 following a week off Denise, Linda, Mary, Evelyn, Elsie, and Julie returned to the lab to help move some of the supplies and artifacts to Burch House and also to catch up.  Denise, Mary, and Carol stayed on to start sorting unlabelled BF artifacts while Esther worked on the report for the geophysical survey that was done earlier this year. And Elsie had the interesting job of describing individual sherds from a cross mended Chinese porcelain pitcher.  We could have chosen the pitcher as the artifact of the day, but we chose this interesting metal object - not iron but coated with rust.  It had been found in a bucket in the attic along with a lot of other metal artifacts recovered in the earlier Port Tobacco excavations.

    April 15, Tax Day, Elsie and Mary finished cataloging one of the lots of historic artifacts while Denise, Evelyn, Linda, and Carol finished sorting the large bag of ceramics from the North South Trench. We needed to get ready to move to Burch House at the next lab.
    From the ceramics bag we selected this rim of an eighteenth century Rhenish stoneware chamber pot as the artifact of the week.  It still has part of a sprig mold - a crown that would have been on a lion.

    Esther, Denise, and Evelyn checked out the remaining artifacts that needed to be brought down from the attic. Some were in boxes too heavy to bring down, and the contents were in crumbling plastic bags. And there are several cabinets that needed to be moved in order to be opened, but the moving would be precarious.  Luckily three members from the Society of the Restoration of Port Tobacco were downstairs working on a project.  We showed them the problems, and they agreed to see what they could do. (Yea!)

    April 8 turned out to be a clean-up day rather than a lab day.  At Burch House Denise, Linda, and Carol swept, dusted and removed cob webs while Elsie vacuumed.  Burch House had not been used since last fall, and we had to get ready to host around one hundred students on Wednesday.

    On April 1 Elsie and Mary catalogued historic artifacts while Denise, Linda, and Carol worked on sorting a large bag of ceramics from the North South Trench. There were a number of ceramics that could have been the artifact of the week, but we chose this small knob from the top of a creamware lid for a teapot or a sugar bowl or ...

    March 25 Elsie, Mary, Denise, Linda, Evelyn, and Esther all continued to catalog the historic artifacts from Port Tobacco.

    On March 18 Denise, Elsie, Linda,  and Carol joined by Sally, a new volunteer, continued cataloging the historic artifacts from Port Tobacco while Esther worked on the computer.  We chose this nice example of a tin-glazed ceramic bowl sherd as the artifact of the day.  And that isn't a shadow in the photo.  Part of the exterior surface had been blackened by fire.

    On March 11 Denise, Elsie, Mary, and Linda continued cataloging the historic artifacts from Port Tobacco while Evelyn and Carol started working with the prehistoric artifacts.  We chose this pressed glass base as the artifact of the day.  It may have been the largest artifact catalogued this Monday. 

    At lunch we were joined by Cathy Thompson.  Esther showed us some of the preliminary results from Tim Horsley's geophysical survey that we had helped with last month.

    Once again on March 4 several activities were going on.  Denise, Elsie, Linda, Evelyn, Julie, and Carol worked in the lab cataloging for most of the time.  Elsie also had to go to Burch House to return the artifacts that had been pulled for the DAR talk.  And Esther labelled some artifacts that were pulled for another talk or exhibit.  It is unusual, but we did not encounter any artifact that we wanted to designate as artifact of the day.  So here is a photo of the artifacts Esther was labeling.
    Several activities were going on at the February 25 "Lab".  Denise, Elsie, Linda, Carol and Esther worked in the lab cataloging for at least part of the time.  Evelyn, Mary, and Denise helped Tim Horsley with the GPR survey out front by helping to put in lines (and were out in the windy, cold weather).  Elsie and Linda went to Burch House to put away the remaining Christmas decorations.
    And we chose these tobacco pipe fragments --some pipe bowls with partial stem, some stem tips, and some that are just plain stems-- as the "artifact" of the day.  All of the stems had a 4/64" internal bore.  All the pipe bowls are the same.  And they all were found in one level of one square - BF1, Square 8, Level 7.  Also they were not tobacco stained.  Interesting.

    We had missed so many labs recently that we had lab on February 18, even though it was a holiday, President's Day.  And the activities were varied.  Esther, Carol, and Tim worked on the catalog while Denise pulled together the inventory so we would know which bags to catalog next.  Elsie and Mary went to Burch House to pull specific artifacts to be used in a presentation.  They were only partially successful.  And we had a special visitor - Ben, Esther's and Tim's dog.  For the artifact of the day we chose this large white salt-glazed stoneware base, probably part of a pitcher or a large bowl.

    February 4 Elsie, Denise, Evelyn, and Carol continued cataloging and Esther continued working on the catalog.  Julie reviewed historical research related to long-gone churches near Port Tobacco.  One smaller lot from Port Tobacco Feature BF1 contained patinated olive green bottle glass fragments.   We choose this straight-sided, octagonal bottle with a slight pontil mark on the base as the artifact for the day.  
    On January 28 after another three week hiatus (due to snow and the Martin Luther King Holiday) Elsie, Denise, Linda, Mary, Carol, and Esther returned to the lab to continue cataloging the artifacts we had washed this summer. We chose this Nottingham Stoneware lid, possibly from a teapot, and associated body pieces as the artifact of the day.  We had not found that many pieces of Nottingham and were unsure we had identified it correctly.  Nottingham is a salt-glazed stoneware, and salt-glazed stoneware normally has an "orange peel" texture.  This didn't.  Then we read that a metal oxide slip applied under the glaze tends to smooth the surface so it would not have the "orange peel" texture.

    January 7 marked three weeks since the last lab and was also the first full day in our winter home- upstairs at the Courthouse.  So it was a little hectic at first.  Mary, Linda, and Carol worked on cataloging artifacts.  Denise, Elsie, and Julie started identifying artifacts that could be used in a large display case for the north Courthouse wing.  Evelyn investigated what was needed to start mending some of the artifacts.  And Esther reconciled the artifact catalogs on the various computers.  And we chose these rims from five different eighteenth century Whieldon creamware plates as the artifact of the day.  They were recovered below an ash lens in a unit of Port Tobacco BF1.

    2018 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2018 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2017 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2017 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2016 Public Archaeology Lab Days (July-Dec)
    2016 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-June)
    2015 Public Archaeology Lab Days

    June 5, 2019

    2018 Preservation Matters

    Charles County Planning and Growth Management has just published the 2018 Preservation Matters Newsletter, an annual publication celebrating Charles County's Historic places.

     Click to see newsletter

    To entice you to look at the newsletter, here is a list of the articles included in the newsletter.  Three of the articles relate to archaeology.
    • Mount Hope Baptist Church: A Day of Collaboration and Rediscovery by Ruby Thomas and Meagan Baco
      (Correction: It was volunteers from Charles County Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc including CCASM member James Gibb who recorded the actual locations that did the archaeological survey of the Carroll Cemetery.  Esther Read was in charge.)

    • The Warehouse District: The Rise and Fall of Hughesville's Loose-Leaf Tobacco Markets

    • Hughesville: A commercial and Tobacco Marketing Center by Nicole Diehlmann

    • From Riverside Village to Upland Camp and Back: Native Americans of the Terminal Archaic Period by James G Gibb

    • Epp Farmstead: Germans Homesteading a Charles County Farm by James G Gibb and Sherri Marsh Johns
    • Zekiah Valley: Preserving Rural Heritage
    • Preservation Awards 2018 Recipient
    • Finding Port Tobacco by Esther Doyle Read

    June 4, 2019

    2019 ASM Field Session - Billingsley

    From May 24 through June 2 the Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc (ASM) along with Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) were at the Billingsley Site (18PR9) in Prince George's County Maryland for the 2019 Field Session.   Matt McKnight, Chief Archeologist at MHT, and Stephanie Sperling, Senior Archaeologist at Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, were  the principal investigators.

    The Billingsley Site (18PR9) dates to the prehistoric and contact periods.  It is depicted on Augustine Herrman's 1670 map as a Native American village named Wighkamameck.  The site is also mentioned in the Proceedings of the Maryland Assembly on May 23, 1674, as the last known home of the Patuxent Indians. 

    Multiple units were opened in three locations where the Magnetic Susceptibility Meter had indicated high readings (anomalies).  One unit where the Meter had shown little or no anomalies was also opened as a "control".  The soil was initially screen through 1/4" mesh screens.  To try to recover smaller artifacts every tenth bucket of soil was water screened through 1/8' mesh screens.  A good deal of fire cracked rocks were recovered.  Here are just three of the other artifacts recovered.  (The black chert point was unique.)
    Accokeek Sherd
    Since it was quite hot, all the units as well as the screening areas were covered with tents to try to keep the people in shade.  The photo below shows the site early on.  The tent farthest back is the lab tent.  And the two individuals on the far right are the principal investigators - Stephanie in the blue shirt and Matt wearing a red bandana on his head.
    The tents indicate the units, the screening areas, and the lab at the site
     On two days a drone took photos of the site.  (Thanks to Roy Brown for the drone photo.)
    Drone ascending

    Other activities going on during the Field Session
    • Spencer Geasey Memorial Lecture
      ( 2 concurrent events at Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park )
      --Behind-the-scenes Tour of the Mount Calvert Grounds and Museum Exhibit
      s with Kristin Montaperto
    • --Archeological Overview of the Patuxent River's Jug Bay Area from pontoon boat with Stephanie Sperling 
    • Saturday Lunchtime talk
      “Artifacts Are Not Wild Onions” - Rico Newman, member of the Choptico Band of the Piscataway Conoy tribe talked about humanizing the things we find on American Indian sites
    • CAT Survey Workshop
      Learning to use the Magnetic Susceptibility Meter and to help ground truth results using Shovel Test Pits 
    At least three CCASM members attended for one or more days.
    In control Unit
    Water Screening
    Using Magnetic Susceptibility Meter
    CCASM is a chapter of ASM.