The Tools of the Trade

Last month, a former AAHA team member, Chris Dwan, was featured on the Marshalltown Company Facebook page. The post features a photo of Chris using a Marshalltown trowel to excavate one of the many test units opened at the Cloverfields Site in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland; a merchant plantation site that served as a colonial Eastern Shore hub of commerce and the home of Hemsley Family for almost 200 years.

AAHA has been conducting excavations at Cloverfields since January 2018 and Chris Dwan has been an invaluable member of the Cloverfields archaeological team. Many of the archaeologists excavating at Cloverfields use Marshalltown trowels, and according to Chris “they’re the best ones for the job!”

Chris Dwan excavates at Cloverfields

Chris has since moved on to begin a doctorate program in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, where his research scope will be “landscape stability and the foundation of social memory in prehistoric Britain.” The AAHA team is looking forward to working with Chris and his lightning troweling skills again after he receives his PhD in 2021.

Author: Kristen Browne

The Magic and Mystery of Maryland Archaeology (Month)

At the beginning of April, to celebrate the 2019 Maryland Archaeology Month , the AAHA team took a field to visit the Anne Arundel County (AAC) archaeologists in their lab at Historic Londontown.  AAHA’s team of young professionals mixed with local volunteers and residents as County Planner Anastasia Poulos and Dr. Zac Singer presented details on two of the exciting projects on which they had been working.  Ms. Poulos has been engaging with AAC residents to document the large number of small family cemeteries that dot the County’s landscape.  There are believed to be over 500 such cemeteries within the county, but many have been vandalized, impacted by development, or are succumbing to the rising waters of the Chesapeake Bay.   Ms. Poulos hopes that by working side by side with local residents more of these important places can be preserved.  Meanwhile, Dr. Singer has been leading a team of volunteers to explore AAC’s western boundary – the shores of the Patuxent River.  Open to volunteers, and in collaboration with the Maryland National Parks and Planning Commission in Prince George’s County, Singer and his team have been traipsing the shorelines of Jug Bay to record evidence of the area’s Native American occupants.


The presentations were extremely engaging, both to the volunteers and to our team of professionals.  The highlight of the evening was provided by Dr. Singer when he passed around stone tools and projectile points from an artifact collection that had been donated to the County, but which needs much help in order to identify all of its contents and to turn it into a valuable teaching tool.  The collection includes at least two Clovis points, one of which was no bigger than a thumb, and everyone geeked out at the opportunity to hold these 10,000 year old.  Needless to say, the AAHA team had a great time mixing with the AAC archaeologists, volunteers, and interested citizens, and was happy to host the few that could join AAHA for Happy Hour at the local pub afterwards. 

For further volunteer opportunities within Anne Arundel County, check out the following links or contact for more information.



At this half-day symposium you will learn how local historians, genealogists, conservationists, and archaeologists unlock the secrets of these historic cemeteries and find out what measures are in place to protect important commemorative landscapes of our past. Experts in history, archaeology, conservation, preservation, genealogy, and archival research will share their work and discuss best practices in the field to inspire preservation of cemeteries in the Four Rivers Heritage Area. Topics will include researching and documenting old cemetery plots, archaeological methods, legal issues, and physical threats related to climate change and development.


June 10-14 and June 17-21, 2019

Dig at a real archaeology site this summer! In partnership with the Lost Towns Project and Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary, we are offering volunteers the chance to dig alongside real archaeologists at a Native American Site in Lothian. Registration is required.  Please email Dr Zac Singer at to learn more or to sign up. (Fee)

Copy of It's Not Just Digging Holes! A Peak Inside the AAHA Lab

As part of the continuing coverage of the Cloverfields excavations, Joe Stephens of StratDV interviewed AAHA’s Lab Director Alexandra Glass. In this video, Alex takes us through the process that artifacts have to go through once they are excavated by AAHA’s Field Technicians.

Don’t forget that you can sign up to receive the official Cloverfields’ Newsletter here:


Probably the Most Exciting Archaeological Project Currently Being Undertaken in Maryland

Since early 2018, AAHA has been involved with the investigation, documentation and restoration of the Cloverfields house and gardens.  This is a fantastic project that will provide excellent research material for future archaeologists and those involved with historic preservation.  Kimmel Studio Architects have been producing and distributing a monthly newsletter to inform anyone interested in the project’s progress. 

AAHA has been providing monthly content regarding the myriad historic artifacts, more than 40,000, that have been recovered during the excavations.  In October 2018, AAHA Vice President Jason Tyler was interviewed on the progress so far as well as what makes this project special:

To follow along with what must me one of the most exciting projects currently being undertaken within Maryland, anyone can sign up to receive the newsletter here:


Applied Archaeology Looks Forward After a Fantastic 2018

Building on 2017, which was AAHA’s best year since the Great Recession, 2018 proved to be the best ever year for the company.  Working on two separate MDSHA open-end Cultural Resource contracts, AAHA successfully completed Maryland State Highway projects in Alleghany, Dorchester, Garrett, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, while also working for commercial clients on a number of in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Queen Anne’s County as well as within Baltimore City.  AAHA also worked with a number of non-profit organizations to assist them with their archaeological needs. 

Without a doubt, the highlight of 2018 has been AAHA’s collaboration with a team of specialists on the investigation, documentation and restoration of the Cloverfields house and gardens.  Currently owned by the Cloverfields Preservation Foundation, the property has been held in the hands of only two families since it was constructed in 1705.  During the first half of 2018, AAHA worked with architectural historian Willie Graham, dendrochronologist Mick Worthington, historian Sherri Marsh-Johns, geophysical expert Tim Horsley, architect Devin Kimmel and construction specialists Lynbrook of Annapolis, as well as many others, to investigate and document the house.  Based on their findings, the team recommended restoration of the house and grounds to the 1780’s with a focus on 1784.  AAHA continues to actively work on the investigation of the cultural landscaping surrounding the house as well as that of the house’s formal gardens.

The coming year is already shaping up to be equally busy, but with the addition of 11 new staff members, including new Project Archaeologists Brett Arnold and Matt Cochran as well as Lab Director Alex Glass, AAHA is well placed to build on the successes of 2018 and to help you meet all of your cultural resource management needs.


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.

ArchaeologyHuntingCreek_Flyer_final presentation calvert county library 2017 september.jpg

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.