October 27, 2020

Helping with "So As Not to Forget" Project

On October 24 eight CCASM members along with Esther and Abigail, one of Esther's former UMBC students, worked with the African American Heritage Society of Charles County and the Alexandria Chapel United Methodist Church on their "So As Not to Forget" Project.

The project was to document the Alexandria United Methodist Church Cemetery that is off Chicamuxen Road in Charles County.  This church was established by a group of freedmen after the Civil War and continues to be a place of worship for descendants of these first families as well as others.  This African American cemetery contains graves with markers (both with and without names) as well as unmarked graves.  And there are graves from the nineteenth century through present day.  

Members of Alexandria United Methodist Church and other participants

CCASM started mapping the cemetery with Esther Read (who had a broken small toe but still insisted on walking around) being the archaeologist in charge.  Jim Gibb used his equipment to record locations and will provide a map for use by the Church when the work is complete.  Elsie and later Mary held the stadia rod for Jim.  Denise, Joe, Julia, Mary, Linda, Carol, Elsie, along with Abigail divided into groups and gathered information.  One group placed numbered flags at the top and at the bottom of depressions indicating graves as well as in front of any markers.  The other groups recorded information about each numbered flag.  For each grave they also recorded information such as the length and width of the grave depression; the name if there was a marker; the presence of any objects placed on the grave, e.g. a ceramic angel or a concrete swan; and the presence of plants such as yucca on or near the grave.  

While recording information near a grave that had a flat unmarked stone at it's head, a woman told us about the young girl who had been buried there.  These graves were part of this woman's family, and documenting family knowledge like hers is one of the reasons for the project.  Once Jim has provided the map to the Church, they can add names to the map.  Also the Church plans to add markers for any unmarked graves. 

It was a sunny day, and there was plenty of room to social distance.  Everyone wore masks.  We were not able to finish the mapping and will need to come back to finish.

2020 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Sep-Dec)

CCASM has been working with Charles County at the ongoing Public Archaeology Lab for a number of years.  The lab is for processing artifacts recovered from various archaeology initiatives in Charles County -  including processing artifacts recovered from savage archaeology in the County as well as those recovered in the 1970's around the Port Tobacco Courthouse.  Esther Read is the archaeologist in charge.

Health precautions:  Following guidelines for Charles County Phase 3 reopening.
Masks required.  Social distancing maintained.  Temperature taken before allowed to participate.  (Wipes, hand sanitizers, ... provided by County.)

Location: Courthouse and Burch House (both inside and outside) in Historic Port Tobacco Village  map

Next dates: 
         Monday,   Nov  2 (11am - 3:30pm)  If not raining, meet at Alexandria Church cemetery (check with Esther first)
         Monday,   Nov  9 (11am - 3:30pm) Esther will not be there
         Monday,   Nov 16 (11am - 3:30pm)  If not raining and haven't finished at cemetery, meet at Alexandria Church cemetery. If finished cemetery and not raining, meet at Rich Hill (fieldwork)  (check with Esther first)
         Monday,   Nov 23 (11am - 3:30pm) 
         Monday,   Nov 30 (11am - 3:30pm) 
Currently no public labs scheduled after November

October 26 Linda, Denise, Julie, and Carol along with Esther were back in the lab. Denise and Julie bagged artifacts in Burch House.   Linda identified and separated artifacts while Carol worked on the computer in the Courthouse. Plenty of space to social distance. We identified this finial from a teapot lid as the artifact of the day.

As an aside, the field notes from the work done in Area B Feature 1 (BF1) were found in a cardboard box off site.  (It's amazing what you find when you have to stay home and decide to clean out storage areas.)  Now we know the location of the different units within this feature as well as information on the levels within each unit.

Even though it didn't rain, the October 19 day in the field at Rich Hill had to be cancelled due to a cat and a broken little toe.

October 5 was a beautiful day to be outside.  Mary, Denise, Julie, and Elsie took advantage of that on their first day of actually working in the lab.  They washed artifacts on the picnic tables behind Burch House.  Among the artifacts washed was this 17th century Staffordshire slipware rim sherd with a scalloped edge.  It was found in BF1-2-6 along with other sherds including three 18th century  "Tortoiseshell" Whieldon ware sherds and three Buckley sherds.
Thanks to Elsie for the photo and the information.

September 28 Linda, Mary, Denise, Carol, and Esther continued getting ready to start up lab.  Additional deteriorating bags of artifacts were brought down from the Port Tobacco Courthouse attic.  The artifacts were put into more substantial bags and taken to Burch House where they will be washed.  We determined where we left off with the cataloging and set up two socially distanced workstations to continue cataloging artifacts on the second floor of the Courthouse.  We are now ready to start.

September 21 Linda, Elsie, Mary, Julie, and Carol met with Esther in Port Tobacco Village to get ready to start lab again.  With our masks on we divided into two groups to attack moving and cleaning chores.

Working with SRPT Charles County had addressed the mold problem in Burch House.  Also SRPT had had the interior re-plastered and painted.  In the process things in the archaeology lab had been moved.  These items were moved back.  Also the archaeology boxes in the attic were counted.  The mold could not be completely removed from the cardboard boxes, and the boxes will have to be replaced.

Also in order for there to be more room to social distance in Burch House, equipment used when in the field, e.g. shovels, toolbox, buckets, needed to be removed from Burch House.   The designated shed near Stagg Hall was cleaned out to provide a place for archaeological equipment.

2020 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jan-Mar)
2019 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Jul-Dec)
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

October 12, 2020

2020 ASM Fall Meeting Agenda

Celebrating Women in Maryland Archaeology
Archeological Society of Maryland Annual Fall Meeting
Hosted by the Mid-Potomac Chapter and Montgomery County Parks Archaeology

Saturday November 7 (8:30am-2:30pm)
Zoom Meeting

Theme: In recognition of the 100th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote by the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, this year’s annual meeting presentations focus on the various roles and contributions women have and continue to make to Maryland Archaeology.

8:30   Participants can register (free) at
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-women-in-maryland-archaeology- 2020-asm-annual-meeting-tickets-120865135875
           and a Zoom link will be emailed to them

9:00   Welcome & Zoom Etiquette Reminders (Don Housley) 

9:10   ASM Business Meeting (Don Housley)
           Treasurer/Membership Secretary Reports
           Year in Review
           Chapter reports
           Election Results
           William B. Marye Award (Maureen Kavanaugh)

10:15  Break

10:20  Frederick M. Stiner Memorial Keynote Lecture
          Growing Up Female in Maryland Archaeology or Where the Bodies are Buried
          Julia A. King, Professor of Anthropology, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

11:15  Break

11:20  Women's Work: The Josiah Henson Museum and Park
            Cassandra Michaud, Senior Archaeologist, Montgomery County Parks

12:05  Lunch break / Chat time

12:30 Iron Mermaids, Women in Diving and Underwater Archaeology
           Susan Langley, Maryland's State Underwater Archaeologist

1:15   Break

1:20   Celebrating Nine Women in Maryland Archaeology
          Heather Bouslog, Senior Archaeologist, Montgomery County Parks

2:05  Closing comments (Don Housley)


October 9, 2020

Archaeology in Jug Bay Complex

Stephanie Sperling
At the October 8 CCASM Zoom meeting Stephanie Sperling provided an overview of the archaeology in the Jug Bay Complex on the Patuxent River.  Although she concentrated on results from seven pre-contact sites, she also covered various historical components of four sites in the area. The pre-contact sites ranged from the Pig Point site occupied over thousands of years with three main excavation areas to the small Swann Island site where a few shovel tests indicate a Late Woodland occupation.  At two of the sites - River Farm and Billingsley - ASM conducted Field Session in which several CCASM members had participated.  Mount Calvert was also the site of two ASM Field Sessions back in the late 1990s.  Really interesting presentation.

Stephanie is the Senior Archaeologist at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Just to see a snapshot of those listening to the talk -
Doug always has the most interesting background.

Attendance: 8

September 13, 2020

Updates from the Field

On September 10 CCASM conducted their first Zoom monthly meeting.

James Gibb

Archeological volunteer activities in Charles County were put on hold in March.  However, archaeologist Jim Gibb (sometimes by himself and other times with a very small group of people) was able to go out into the field.  At the September meeting, Jim provided updates for two of these projects. 
Cadaver dogs were used at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, MD, to locate the 1685 grave of Thomas Frances and a grave marked with "A.S." that make have been in the nineteenth century Sellman Cemetery.  It was hoped the dogs might also located graves of enslaved people or tenants that had worked there. The dogs did find several locations that could be unmarked graves.   Remote sensing was used around these locationa.
For more detailed information, check out  SERC-Hunt for Historic Graves

Jim and a small crew completed a Phase III investigation at the Mill Branch Crossing Site in Bowie that is destined to be developed.   Several buildings and other features were revealed.  This was the location an in-tact mid-18th-century (1720-1770) plantation called Amptill Grange. But the Amptill Grange tract goes back to 1670.

Jim is the owner of Gibb Archaeological Consulting and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Normally we try to show a photo of those in attendance.  This time we can only show the Zoom photos even though some photos show the ceiling rather than the person.

Attendance: 12

August 15, 2020

2020 'Virtual" Workshop in Archeology

Due to the limitation of public access and closure of state buildings, the Workshop in Archeology was not held on March 28th as originally planned.  Instead, Maryland Historical Trust staff coordinated with the Archeological Society of Maryland as well as the originally scheduled speakers to present this "virtual" Workshop in Archeology for 2020. 

The Workshop lectures as well as opening remarks from ASM President  Don Housley are available on-line at    https://mht.maryland.gov/archeology_workshop.shtml.

Lectures include

  • Priestly Plantations: What We Know (and Want to Find Out) About the Archeology of Jesuit Sites in Maryland  (40 mins)
    Laura Masur, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, the Catholic University of America

  • "A bleak, barren sand beach":  Recent Investigations at Point Lookout Light Station (50 mins)
    Rob Wanner, Archeologist and GIS Technician with EAC/Archaeology, Inc.

  • Cobble Reduction and Tool Production from Late Archaic through Late Woodland at the Elkridge Site  (38 mins)
    Bob Wall, Lecturer in Anthropology, Towson University

  • "The once great plantation is now but a wilderness":  Archeological Research at the Josiah Henson Site  (23 mins)
    Cassandra Michaud, Senior Archeologist, Montgomery Parks (M-NCPPC) – Planning & Stewardship Division

  • Archeology at the Cloverfields Site   (40 mins)
    Zachary Andrews, Crew Chief, Applied Archaeology and History Associates, Inc.

July 4, 2020

Celebrating July 4th 2020

Celebrating July 4th in 2020 is a little different than previous years.  Last year CCASM was at an Independence Day event at Smallwood Retreat. 

We created a number of activities for the event.  Even though we can't meet in person, we can share one of the activities - a broken Betsy Ross Flag "plate" that could be mended.  It had been broken into thirteen pieces.

Here are the pieces that you can print, cut out, and try to put together, and also what the mended plate looks like.

June 13, 2020

Upcoming on-line webinars and lectures

Here's an upcoming free webinar (part of the Historic Sotterley Speaker Series) -
  • Wednesday, June 24, 7pm
    Diving for History: Never Too Old to Play in the Mud!

    Conducting underwater archaeological reconnaissance, David Howe discusses his work to locate, research, assess, and preserve submerged historic sites.
    From Washington’s miniature ship, The Federalist, to numerous Civil War sites, Mr. Howe shares the methods, mission, and madness associated with mapping and identifying the underwater “museums” that haunt the Mid-Atlantic waterways.
        link to register

Here's an upcoming virtual discussion panel (sponsored by The Society of Black Archaeologists)
  • Thursday June 25th 4:10–6:00pm EDT via ZOOM
    Archaeology in the Time of Black Lives Matter
    A panel discussion, facilitated by Maria Franklin & Justin Dunnavant. With Alexandra Jones, Alicia Odewale & Tsione Wolde-Michael. Chaired by Ayana Flewellen.
    Where does archaeology sit in relation to Black Lives Matter and how might we find ways to engage with the insights and challenges of this moment in our archaeological practice? How do we move beyond statements of solidarity against anti-Black racism and towards making sustainable systemic changes in the discipline? And what might that change look like?
    Read more  at link to register

And you might want to check out other on-line lectures on the  CCASM Upcoming Free Webinars, On-line Lectures page.
The link to the page is in the Menu on the right under What's Happening.
(On cell phones you will find it in the second drop-down list at the top of the page.)

May 20, 2020

New CCASM Board Members (June 2020 - May 2022)

The newly elected CCASM Officers and Members at Large for June 2020 - May 2022 are
  • President                   Carol Cowherd
  • Vice-President          Patricia Vazquez
  • Secretary                   Douglas Zabel
  • Treasurer                   Elsie Picyk
  • Members at Large    Michael Creveling,  Peggy Knoernschild
They would definitely appreciate your ideas and your support in implementing those ideas.

2020 Annual CCASM Meeting - a little different

CCASM normally has its annual meeting at the May meeting, and for the past few years this has included a Pot Luck Supper and a presentation.  But this year we are social distancing and could not meet.

How could we have the meeting?  A lot of organizations are doing video conferencing.  But without a presentation, how many people would want to attend a virtual business meeting to hear people reading reports?  Probably not that many.

So this year's meeting was an e-mail on May 13.  The body of the e-mail contained the President's introductory remarks.  Attachments included the President's Report of what the organization had been doing the past twelve months, the 2019_2020 Annual Summary Treasurer Report, and the Minutes of the 2019 Annual Meeting.  So instead of listening to the reports, members could read them.  Members having something they wanted to discuss were asked to e-mail us and we would follow up.  Nobody has so far.  The predicted results (voting was open through May 15) of the election for the CCASM Board were also announced. 

Members who responded to the e-mail were counted as attending the meeting.  Six members "attended".

Looking forward to having meetings where we can see and talk to each other again.