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:

https://www.cloverfieldspreservationfoundation.org/newsletters/2018/10/15/historic-preservation-newsletter-kimmel-archaeology-update

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:

https://www.cloverfieldspreservationfoundation.org/news-1/

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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.

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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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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.