October 21, 2021

2021 ASM Fall Meeting Agenda

Archeological Society of Maryland Annual Fall Meeting
Zoom Meeting

 8:30   Zoom Opens

 9:00   ASM Business Meeting
           Report on State of the Society
           Chapter reports
           William B. Marye Award

10:30  Billingsley Site: Results from the 2021 Annual Tyler Bastian Field
Session in Maryland Archeology

            Zachary Singer, Maryland Historical Trust

11:10  Frederick M. Stiner Memorial Keynote Lecture
          Overlooked Places: Telling the interconnected history of Maryland
through recent archaeology in Baltimore

           Adam Fracchia, University of Maryland and Research Associate, SERC

(Zoom link was mailed to all ASM and CCASM members.)


October 19, 2021

ASM Project for Dielman Inn - Lab Work

CCASM has volunteered to process artifacts recovered from Shovel Test Pits (STPs) excavated as part of an ASM-sponsored project at Dielman Inn in New Windsor.  The lab will be at Burch House on Mondays in lieu of the regular Monday Charles County Lab.  We will be washing, sorting, bagging, and cataloging the artifacts. 

To provide an opportunity for CAT candidates and other volunteers to do field survey work (STPs), ASM is sponsoring the Phase I Archaeological Survey of the area behind the Dielman Inn.  The Dielman Inn is located in the Town of New Windsor (Carroll County).  It was built in the late eighteenth century.  The project is also an opportunity for ASM to involve local members of the town in the archaeology process.  Esther Doyle Reed is the Principal Investigator.   

fyi, The Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc (ASM) developed a program for the Certification and Training Program for Archeological Technicians (referred to as the CAT program).  One of the requirements is for CAT candidates to have at least 80 hours of supervised field survey that includes doing shovel test pits (STPs).  Another is to have at least 80 hours of supervised laboratory work.

CAT candidates and other interested volunteers are welcome to join CCASM members in the lab.

Health precautions:  Following guidelines for Charles County.  Wearing face masks and socially distancing indoors.

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

Next dates: 
       Monday,   Oct 25  ( 9am - 4pm)
       Monday,   Nov  1  ( 9am - 4pm)
       Monday,   Nov  8  ( 9am - 4pm)
       Monday,   Nov 15 ( 9am - 4pm)

Glass sherd
with Fish Scale Pattern
Monday October 18 was one of those crisp days.  Denise and Mary decided to stay outside and finish washing the two remaining bags of artifacts while Elsie, Peggy, Linda, and Carol stayed indoors and started sorting measuring, and bagging the now dry artifacts that had been washed the previous week.  In the afternoon Mary joined those sorting while Elise and Denise left to help Esther Reed put poles in the ground at Rich Hill.  With the reduced work force we were only able to process nine of the 26 bags, but the artifacts from one of those bags covered an entire screen.  In the time it took us to process that one bag, we were able to process eight other bags.  So not bad.  By the way, a bag contains artifacts recovered from one level of an STP. 
Among all the brick, coal, schist, and miscellaneous other artifacts we found this glass sherd with a fish scale pattern. and we chose it as the artifact of the day.

Sorting, Measuring,
and Bagging Artifacts

Ceramic Sherd
At the October 11 Lab there was a slight hiccup.  Esther, who was bringing the artifacts to be processed, had car trouble and was delayed.  Mary, Elsie, Denise, Linda, Peggy, and Carol sat outside on the picnic tables and enjoyed talking with each other until the artifacts arrived.  On the past Saturday ten STPs that had been excavated in levels.  So there were 26 paper bags of artifacts.  We were able to wash the artifacts from 24 of the bags - a lot of washing, a lot of artifacts.  We chose this printed ceramic sherd with a possible Chinese design as the artifact of the day.  One of the men appears to be looking through a telescope.

Washing Artifacts While
Socially Distancing

October 18, 2021

2021 Colonial Faire and Fall Festival

Maxwell Hall held its annual Colonial Faire and Fall Festival on October 16 and 17.  Despite predictions that it might rain Saturday afternoon, the rain held off.  We had two really nice days for being outdoors - windy, but nice.  And we were able to talk with quite a few people about archaeology.  (We had to print additional flyers for Sunday.)  There were over 300 people attending the Faire on Saturday and at least that many people on Sunday.  A really nice time.

Taking it easy while describing
how archaeologists investigate a site
The display
(Note: Trifold secured to canopy leg)

Our youngest visitors
Describing fire-cracked rocks
(Note: Bricks holding objects down.)

Thanks to Denise, Elsie, Linda, Peggy, Carol, and Mary for representing CCASM at the Faire.

October 17, 2021

One-Room Schoolhouses in Maryland

James Gibb
At the October 14 CCASM in-person meeting Jim Gibb described the typical architecture of one-room schoolhouses.  He also explored the variability in their architecture and related how this variability leads to clues to unique local histories as well as conflicts among educational theories that continue to this day.

Dr. James Gibb is sole proprietor of Gibb Archaeological Consulting and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.


Socially Distancing Attendees

The October CCASM Meeting was held in the Port Tobacco Courthouse in Port Tobacco, MD.  We would like to thank the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco for allowing us to use the Courthouse for the meeting.

Attendance: 10 members


October 5, 2021

2021 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Mar-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.  Back to wearing face masks indoors.

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

Next dates: 
       Monday,   Oct 11 - Oct  25 Special lab sessions (CCASM working with ASM) Dielman Inn Labwork

Rumford Bottle

October 4's Lab was a little different.  Normally only one or two people sort and bag artifacts from one drying screen.  But today Elsie, Linda, Denise, Peggy, and Carol all worked on the same screen.  We needed to have all the screens ready, i.e. empty, for the lab project that was to start the next week, and we wanted to have time to look for graves on a property in Nanjemoy.  We choose this top part of a bottle with RUMFORD embossed on the shoulder as the artifact of the day.  The Rumford bottle most likely contained baking powder.

We did finish bagging the artifacts in time to look for graves.  Before we could look for the graves we had to find their location based on buildings identified on a plat.  Unfortunately Google Maps was no help.  It was still a nice day to walk.

Looking for Landmarks

White Metal

September 27 was another pretty day and Elsie, Linda, Denise, and Carol decided to work outside Burch House.  Elsie dry-brushed some really dirty iron artifacts; Carol and Denise sorted and bagged artifacts; and Linda washed glass artifacts.  There were stove parts, hinges, locks, and other hardware from the Courthouse Site, but we choose this white metal decoration as the artifact of the day.  It only had one hole by which it could be attached to another object.

September 20 was such a pretty day that Elsie, Linda, Denise, Peggy, Ned, and Carol decided to work outside Burch House and to dry brush the numerous metal artifacts that we had brought over from the Courthouse.  Most of the these artifacts were labelled "PT" indicating that they had been recovered from around the Courthouse.  We sorted and bagged the artifacts after we dry brushed them.  Actually the artifacts weren't that dirty.  Since Ned does blacksmithing, he helped us sort nails and also told us how some of the artifacts could have been used.  Although the majority of the artifacts were iron, we chose this small decorative copper alloy object as the artifact of the day.  It looks like it was could be used to pick up something small, but what?  A tag attached to the artifact read PT48.

Update: Sara Rivers-Cofield from the MAC Lab said her best guess is this is a skirt lifter from the late 19th or early 20th century.  The slide is used to close the clip.  She found this pinterst website with a Victorian skirt lifter similar to the one we found.

Top view
Side view
Bottom view

Straight-edge Razor
The Lab on September 13 was a little different - no washing or sorting or cataloging - just moving artifacts around.   Ned joined Linda, Denise, Elsie, to take the bagged artifacts to the Courthouse where Carol and Peggy integrated them with the other artifacts that still needed to be catalogued.  Ned, Denise, and Elsie went into the attic to bring down more artifacts and we stabilized the disintegrating bags before they could be processed.  There were lots of glass and metal artifacts from the Courthouse area.  We choose this straight-edge razor with a wooden handle as the artifact of the day.

Esther returned for the first time after her operation and had a "robotic" brace on her left arm.  Since Esther could not do anything strenuous with her left arm, Ned and Elsie went with her to explore a possible cemetery location.  Esther didn't need that much help exploring, but she did need help pounding a stake in the ground.

Medicine Bottle
On August 30 Linda, Mary, Peggy, Denise and Carol sorted and bagged the artifacts that had been washed the previous week.  Most of the artifacts were labeled "PT" which means they had been recovered from the Courthouse area.  We choose this fragment of a small bottle with a patent finish as the artifact of the day.  Patent and proprietary medicine bottles were made with this type of finish from about 1850 until after the turn of the century.  
Stove part

At the August 23 Lab Linda and Peggy washed artifacts, Carol and Denise sorted and bagged artifacts, and Elsie worked outdoors brushing dirt off iron artifacts.  The artifact of the day was one of those iron artifacts.  It looks like it could have been used to adjust the air flow for a cast iron stove - maybe a potbelly stove.  Interestingly most of the artifacts we are currently processing were excavated ca 1968 in the area underneath the current reconstructed Port Tobacco Courthouse. 

Fork with Antler Handle
On August 16 we returned to wearing face masks inside Burch House.  Mary and Elsie started cataloging groups of ceramic sherds that had once been part of the same vessel.  The sherds had been recovered at Port Tobacco ca 2008.  Linda, Peggy, Denise, and Carol continued to sort and bag artifacts recovered at Port Tobacco ca 1970, and chose this artifact of the day--a two-tined fork with an antler handle.

Metal Objects
On August 9 Denise, Linda, Peggy, Carol, and Elsie started bagging and washing Port Tobacco artifacts brought down from the attic last week.  (Elsie and Esther also worked on a process for cataloging the vesselized artifacts recovered from the ca 2008 Port Tobacco Excavations.)  There were many candidates for artifact of the day, but we chose a bag of interesting metal objects (starting from the upper left in the photo) - a glass and metal drawer pull, the top of a kerosene lamp, a copper spoon with a hole in it, an Indian Head penny, a printing block, and a decorative copper alloy buckle fragment.   We were intrigued by the partial printing block and used a mirror to try to read it.  Here is the "mirror" image and what we think it would print.  It would be interesting to see all the text.

Mirror image of Printing Block
Using mirror to try to read Printing Block

/ ??ael  Out.
/Girl—-It’s so odd  about
/ Now, my fiance’s fad is
/ looking  at her)—-So  I
/--Up to-Date

Decorative Bracket
On August 2 work resumed on the Port Tobacco artifacts.  Linda, Carol, Elsie, and Mary were joined by Daphne, a Charles County intern.  This was Daphne's last day, and she was shadowing Esther to see what an archaeologist did.  More artifacts were brought down from the really hot attic.  There were a number of interesting metal artifacts brought down, and we chose this decorative bracket(?) as the artifact of the day. 
Mary and Daphne stabilized the artifact bags retrieved from the attic so they could be taken to Burch House where the artifacts will be washed.  The latest batch of artifacts processed at Burch House were sorted by Linda and Carol in preparation for cataloging.  Elsie and Esther put negatives that had been retrieved from the shed at Stagg Hall into polypropylene bags.  So quite a variety of activities.

Mammal Distal Phalanges
On July 26 Mary, Denise, Linda, Peggy, and Carol moved equipment used in the recent excavations back to the old garage at Stagg Hall while Elsie talked with a woman and her children who had dropped by to see what archaeologists do.  Then we all worked on sorting and bagging the remainder of the artifacts retrieved from Rich Hill.  This mammal distal phalanges bone was selected as the artifact of the day.  It could have connected with the phalanges ("short") bone selected as the artifact of the day on July 12.  These bones may have been from a pig.

At the July 19 lab Mary, Linda, and Carol were joined by Peggy to wash the artifacts recovered from the four Rich Hill excavation units.  They were quite dirty (dried mud) and quickly muddied the washing water.  Our artifact for the day is this chamber pot rim.  When it was found in one of the STPs, it was not removed until the feature containing it could be removed.  It was this rim that led to the excavation of the four units.  The "feature" did not turn out to be a post mold nor a midden.  Although this was not a midden, these four units contained small refined earthenware fragments, a few nails, a copper alloy button, and brick fragments as well as fire cracked rocks.  One thought is that trash ended up in this area near the sunken road when wagons turned around.  Just a thought. 
Chamber Pot Rim

Mammal Short Bone
For the first part of the lab on July 12 Elsie, Mary, Linda, and Melissa hosed off the mud from the equipment used at Rich Hill.  Then we returned to normal lab activities.  Melissa and Carol sorted and bagged the previously washed artifacts recovered from the Rich Hill STPs.  Mary, Linda, and Elsie washed the artifacts from the excavations dug this past weekend at Rich Hill.  We chose this mammal short bone that was found in a Rich Hill STP as the artifact of the day.  It was about seven centimeters long (forgot to include ruler in the photo).

Hosing Off Mud
Washing Artifacts

On June 28 Elsie, Denise, Mary, and Carol were joined in the lab by Melissa, a new volunteer.  We were able to wash all the artifacts that had been recovered from Rich Hill the past weekend (June 26-27).  So several of us got to spend three days doing archaeology.  Initially we had chosen a thick dark bluish green piece of glass as the artifact of the day.  It was unusual, but also hard for a photograph to capture the color.   Instead we chose a nineteenth century copper alloy button with the word "gilt" embossed on it.  One of the volunteers on Saturday brought his metal detector and recovered (and documented the location of) this button in the area of the STPs.  [also check out  In the field at Rich Hill]


At the June 14 Archaeology Lab Denise, Mary, Linda, and Carol sorted and bagged the Port Tobacco artifacts that were in the drying screens.   And we chose this unusual artifact of the day.   It's this neck and finish from a wine bottle, probably eighteenth century.  Although the interior and exterior are an opaque cream colored glass, there is an olive green glass layer in the middle.  The neck is also slightly deformed indicating it may have been near a fire.  It would be interesting to know the conditions causing the surfaces of the glass to become opaque.
Wine Bottle Neck
Wine Bottle Neck
June 7 we must have been recovering from Market Day the previous Saturday, because we forgot to choose an artifact of the day.  Denise, Julie, Elsie, Linda, and Carol were at the lab continuing their activities from previous labs.  And a lunchtime we confirmed various volunteering commitments for CCASM.
Alkaline Glazed

The May 24 Lab had lots of volunteers - Denise, Mary, Julie, Peggy, Linda, Elsie, and Carol.  Denise and Julie bagged the washed (now dry) artifacts from Rich Hill.  Mary and Elsie continued inventorying the Port Tobacco artifacts retrieved 2007-9.  Linda, Peggy, and Carol returned to the Courthouse to continue cataloging the Port Tobacco artifacts retrieved ca 1970.  We finally finished cataloging the ceramics retrieved from the BF1 North-South Trench.  We started cataloging them before the shutdown.  The artifact of the day is this alkaline glazed stoneware pottery rim sherd that came from the BF1 North-South Trench.

May 17 was a great day to wash artifacts outdoors behind Burch House.  Peggy joined Julie, Denise, Linda, Mary, and Carol to wash the the artifacts that had been retrieved from the ten STPs dug at Rich Hill the past Saturday.  We were able to complete washing all the artifacts so Esther could report the findings to the Historic Preservation Commission that evening.  Around lunch we had three visitors that led to some interesting conversations.
Washing Artifacts

Townsend Rim Sherd
But the artifact of the day for May 17 did not come from Rich Hill.  It had been washed last week and was from Port Tobacco.  We even know the unit and level from which it was retrieved.  The artifact is this Late Woodland Townsend Corded pottery rim sherd.

Parian Porcelain Fragment

 On May 10 Linda and Carol worked on artifacts at the Courthouse while Denise and Elsie washed artifacts at Burch House.  Denise and Elsie chose the base of this ceramic figure as the artifact of the day.  All that can be made out is what looks like part of a basket .  The original bag indicated it was a Parian porcelain figure. 

Jasperware Rim

We had planned to be in the field at Rich Hill on May 3.  But there was a little rain early on, and the forecast indicated the chance for rain was 50+%.  So the field work was postponed.  After a discussion of upcoming events and what we planned to do, we stopped for lunch and returned to the lab in the afternoon.  Denise and Carol continued cataloguing in the Courthouse.  Elsie, Mary, and Esther continued working in the Burch House Attic.  Once again Julie who was washing artifacts at Burch House came up with the artifact of the day - this jasperware rim. 
Thanks to Julie for the photo.

Historic Port Tobacco Village is opening up in May, and tours will start April 29.  So on April 26 Elsie, Linda, Mary, Denise, and Carol helped get Burch House ready for tours.  This also included setting up the Archaeology Lab displays in the back room.  We forgot all about taking photos.

Button Covers - Top
Button Covers - Reverse
On April 19 Elsie, Denise, Julie, Carol, and Esther once again were in the Archaeology Lab in Port Tobacco.  We continued with activities in both the Courthouse and Burch House.  Denise and Esther brought down additional artifacts from the Courthouse attic.  So there will be plenty of artifacts to wash at Burch House next week.  Toward the end of the day Denise and Carol were able to start cataloging artifacts again.  And they chose these artifacts of the day -- copper alloy button covers.
glass vial base
On March 29 after several months of being away, we returned to the Public Archaeology Lab.  Although we had been together in the field on several days this year, this was the first time in the lab.   Elsie and Mary worked in the Burch House attic to transfer artifacts into corrugated plastic boxes.  All the cardboard boxes needed to be removed from Burch House to help reduce the possibility of mold.  Linda and Carol worked on the Courthouse second floor trying to organize the additional artifacts that Esther brought over from Burch House.  They also made a new bottle of 10% B-72 in acetone that will be used to label the artifacts.  Julie was on the first floor of Burch House washing artifacts - one of our normal activates.  So it was Julie that selected our artifact of the day - the base of an olive green eighteenth century vial.

Putting new boxes
Transferring artifacts
to new boxes
Pointing out bottle of
10% B-72 made today

2020 Public Archaeology Lab Days (Sep-Dec)
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

September 12, 2021

How to Make Stone Tools

Nate Salzman
The day of the CCASM September meeting was dreary with a threat of rain, but then the sun came out late in the afternoon.  It was really good to have the sun out since this was the first in-person meeting since March 2020 and it was to be held outdoors at Burch House in the Port Tobacco Village.

At the September 9 CCASM meeting Nate Salzman demonstrated how to flint knap, i.e. how to remove flakes from stones.  As he knapped he talked about what is involved in making stone tools -- selecting the rock, finding the location on the rock to strike, and using different types of tools to remove the flakes.   Although we usually think of flint knapping as a means of creating projectile points, Nate showed how a single flake could also be a tool.

Striking a piece of Obsidian
with the base of an Antler
Looking at stone artifacts from Charles County
(in the "dark" at the end of the meeting)

Nate Salzman is an Education and Exhibits Specialist at Jefferson Paterson Park and Museum (JPPM).  Nate is also the manager of the Indian Village at JPPM and conducts a number of JPPM Workshops relating to primitive technologies.

Before the meeting
(Notice the bug spray)

Attendance: 15

MHT/ASM Workshop in Archaeology - 2021

The 30th Annual Workshop in Archeology was held at the Maryland Historical Trust in Crownsville, MD, on Saturday September 11.   It has been two and a half years since the last in-person workshop.  There were masks and social distancing, but it was really good to see everyone again.

 Talks and presenters included

The Late Woodland in the Potomac Valley,  Richard J. Dent  (Keynote Speaker)

Looking for Cresap's Fort using Remote Sensing,  Matt McKnight

Concurrent Sessions 

Open-Source Geophysical Information Systems (GIS) for Archaeology,  Scott Strickland

Soils, Sediments, and Landscapes in Archaeology,  John Wah

A 3D Photogrammetry Modeling Workshop,  Tom McLaughlin & Zachary Singer
Concurrent Sessions 

Identifying 17th-Century Colonial Ceramics,  Amelia Chisholm

Atlatl Dart Throwing Workshop,  Bob Weist

CAT Session: Prehistoric Overview - Part I & Part II,  Bob Wall and Charlie Hall

CCASM members attending included Elsie, Evelyn, Jim, and Carol.

CCASM is a chapter of ASM.
Note: There was one change to the agenda. 


July 12, 2021

In the Field at Rich Hill

There is the possibility that a mid-nineteenth century Corn House will be moved to Rich Hill, a historic property owned by Charles County.  A location was selected back from the house, but it was necessary to see what might or might not have been there in the past.  So Charles County Planning Archeologist Esther Read was requested to investigate.   (Field work is listed in reverse chronological order.)

We returned to Rich Hill on the weekend of July 10-11.  On Saturday eight volunteers participated.   This included four CCASM members (Mary, Elsie, Ned, and Melissa) and three students from UMBC (Abigail, Ashton, and Dee) plus Dee's teenage daughter Rayne.  After Ned, Dee, and Rayne bailed out the two units opened last time, Mary troweled down the heavy mud layer in the unit.  It had rained the night before.  Last time we were here the soil was hard packed, and we had wanted some moisture to make it easier to dig, but this was a little more than was wanted.  Ned and Esther opened up two new units adjacent to the existing units.   Ned, Melissa, Abigail, Ashtyn, Dee and Rayne worked the new unit while Esther and Elsie mapped the STPs and metal-detecting points dug on June 26.  The search for property corner markers was unsuccessful. 

Excavating New Unit

On Sunday July 11 three CCASM volunteers (Melissa, Ned, and Elsie) returned to the site.  Melissa with help from Ned troweled down the four units to a uniform depth while Elsie screened.  Esther made drawings and took photos of the units.  Then the feature that was near the center of the four units was excavated.  The feature had various artifacts including the rim of a broken chamber pot.
Recording Unit and Troweling Unit

On Monday July 12 Ned and Esther returned to the site to backfill the units.

(Thanks to Elsie for the info and to Esther for the photos.) 

Investigations continued on the weekend (June 26-27).  In addition to finding a location for the Corn House, it was also an opportunity to see what archaeology could tell us about this part of the site.  On Saturday June 26 ten volunteers assisted Esther with the digging of STPs.   This included eight CCASM members or former members (Steve, Joe, Mary, Elsie, Denise, Ned, Melissa, and Carol) and two students from UMBC (Abigail and Ashtyn).  We had indicated we needed additional screens, and Ned made three for us to use.  (Thanks Ned.)  So we were able to have five teams working at the same time.  We plan to wash the artifacts at the upcoming Monday Lab.  This will provide a better understanding of what was there.

Digging more STPs

On Sunday June 27 six volunteers (Steve, Melissa, Mary, Ned, Elsie, and Carol) returned to the site to excavate a 3'x3' unit in an area of interest.  The artifacts included small brick fragments, charcoal, ceramics, a few rusted nails, and fire cracked rocks.  We encountered a feature that required the opening of another unit.  So we will need to return to learn more about the feature that was exposed. 

Excavating Unit

On Saturday May 15 six CCASM members (Denise, Joe, Linda, Doug, Julie, and Carol) assisted Esther with the digging of ten shovel test pits (STPs) in the proposed area.  But first Joe weed-whacked the weeds and poison ivy (lots of poison ivy) in the area where the STPs were to be dug.  We didn't find a lot of artifacts- mostly brick fragments but also some stoneware, green bottle glass, a crude projectile point, and other miscellaneous artifacts including whiteware.  One STP had almost a half pound of bricks, and Esther believes that this indicates the slave quarters were in this area.

Digging STPs