A Race Against Time: Maryland Archaeology and the Quest to Recover History

Kirsti Uunila, Historic Preservation Planner for Calvert County, and Jason Tyler, AAHA Vice President, were recently interviewed by Stephanie Sperling of the Lost Towns Project in Anne Arundel County, regarding AAHA's recent work in Battle Creek and Hunting Creek in Calvert County.   Stephanie has put together a great video that incorporates part of the interview and highlights the imminent threat to Maryland's cultural resources from Climate Change and associated weather events.

Research indicates that one-third of archaeological sites in Anne Arundel County are threatened by weather and other natural hazards.

Find out what measures are being taken and how you can help by watching The Lost Towns Project video, which was produced in collaboration with Anne Arundel County and supported by Preservation Maryland's Heritage Fund Grant.


 

Climate Change and the Risk to Archaeological Resources - Coming to a Creek Near You!

This evening, Jeanne Ward and I will be presenting the findings of our survey of Hunting Creek, Calvert County.  The survey was undertaken in order to document archaeological resources that are at risk from the impacts of Climate Change on Calvert County's shorelines.  This is the second survey that AAHA has completed in respect to these potential impacts on Calvert County's cultural heritage.  The analysis of the data was completed with the expert assistance of Christopher Polglase of Gray and Pape, Inc.  Presentation will begin at 7pm, Monday September 18th, in the Calvert County Library, Prince Frederick, Maryland.

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A Busy Year for AAHA

 

It has been an exhilarating first half of the year for Applied Archaeology and History Associates, Inc., with the company completing more archaeological projects than at any time before or since the beginning of the Great Recession.  The mild winter of 2017 allowed us to conduct Phase I and II archaeological investigations throughout the first quarter with very little impact from the weather, despite a couple of chilly mornings.  Work continued apace into the Spring, as we closed out the end of our five year Cultural Resources Open-End contract with the Maryland State Highway Administration.  However, things did not slow down, as AAHA is pleased to announce that we are part of two separate teams, RKK Engineers and AD Marble, who have both been awarded one of the new 2017-2021 MDSHA open-end Cultural Resource contracts.  With one project already completed and started, we’ve certainly hit the ground running. 

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It's not too late to sign-up for the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) Conference in September

Jeanne A. Ward, President of Applied Archaeology and History Associates, Inc., will be attending the 2016 American Cultural Resources Association Conference in Palm Springs on September 17th, 2016. 

The conference is a wonderful resource for those working in the Cultural Resource Management field, including excellent workshops and great networking opportunities.  It's not too late to sign-up, just click on the link below:

From ACRA's August Monthly Member Update - Come See Palm Springs!

Only a few weeks until the much-anticipated American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) conference in Palm Springs—can you believe it? We know that most of our members spend many, many (many) hours at work. Take this opportunity to have a mini vacation to gorgeous southern California! This year attendees will go on two bus trips to see the sites and maybe learn something to boot. On Saturday, September 17th, a bus trip to Palm Canyon to see a Traditional Cultural Property of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians will be followed by a bus tour of the architecture and history of downtown Palm Springs. You might even see a celebrity or two…. The bus tours,all sessions on Friday, and several socials are included in your registration fee. Can’t beat that!

Register  for the conference and Thursday’s workshop on records digitization now. Hotel room sat the Palm Springs Renaissance can also be reserved now by clicking here. Book your rooms today as the block is booking up very fast. Overflow rooms have been set aside at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott through mid-August. More information on the conference schedule and the venue can be found on the ACRA webpage.

 

AAHA finds 13 New Archaeological Sites During Survey of Battle Creek, Calvert County

In 2015, AAHA conducted a shoreline survey of Battle Creek on behalf of the Commissioners of Calvert County. 

The visual inspection was conducted from a canoe, with the archaeologists closely following the shoreline and occasionally putting ashore below the high tide line so as not to trespass on private property.  Due to the difficulty of identifying archaeological sites in this manner, the survey largely resulted in the identification of oyster middens that are visibly eroding out of the banks of the creek.  The survey took three days and covered a distance of 26.7 miles as the archaeologists inspected five previously recorded sites and identified a further 13 new archaeological sites.

A look back at Battle Creek from its confluence with the Patuxent River

A look back at Battle Creek from its confluence with the Patuxent River

The sites newly identified and those re-identified during the visual survey were subsequently plotted on a USGS map and associated aerial photographs.  Using this information, the locations of the sites were imported into the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s MERLIN Online web resource.  The plotted data was then reviewed against MERLIN’s data for Historical Shorelines in order to estimate how much of the site had potentially already been impacted by sea level rise and erosion.  At the time of the survey it was adjudged that 12 of the 19 resources had been partially affected by previous erosion and sea level rise in the previous 90 years, while a further six had been substantially eroded and one had been totally destroyed.  All of the resources that have already been “substantially affected” by erosional forces are located in the southernmost portion of the creek.

An archaeological pit feature eroding out of the banks of the creek close to the site of Calverton - the County's first seat of government.

An archaeological pit feature eroding out of the banks of the creek close to the site of Calverton - the County's first seat of government.

 The sites were then compared against MERLIN’s data for Sea Level Rise Vulnerability, which is split into three sub-categories: 0 to 2 Foot Inundation, 2 to 5 Foot Inundation and 5 to 10 Foot Inundation.  As with the Historical Shorelines each site was compared with each sub-category of Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and a determination was made whether the site would be partially, substantially or totally affected by each level of inundation.

Artifacts recovered from beneath the water's surface along the southern shore of Battle Creek

Artifacts recovered from beneath the water's surface along the southern shore of Battle Creek

Six sites were identified as being at immediate risk of imminent damage from sea level rise and intensified storm events, including the site of Calvert County’s first County Seat – Calverton.  The Calverton Site has previously been described as one of Calvert County’s most important archaeological sites and much has already been lost to erosion. 

In Spring 2015, AAHA presented their results at a meeting hosted by the Calvert County Nature Society where AAHA's Vice President, Jason Tyler, took questions from the County's residents. 

Welcome to Applied Archaeology and History Associates' New Blog

As we have begun to further develop AAHA's web presence we thought it would be a good idea to start our own blog.  We'll update the blog with stories from the field, information regarding AAHA's new projects and awards as well as news of archaeological events and happenings within the Mid-Atlantic Region and the wider world of archaeology.  Be sure to check back for more stories in the coming weeks.