Who we are

The Lost Towns Project is a team of professional archaeologists and historians, working closely with the government of Anne Arundel County, Maryland to discover and explore the County's rich heritage. The team is committed to sharing the discovery process of this incredible heritage with the public through hands-on experiences, publications, lectures, and exhibits. In this blog, we will share some of our exciting discoveries, updates, and events. Check out our website at www.losttownsproject.org for much more, or to learn how to become a volunteer or intern! No experience is required to assist us in field investigations, laboratory studies, archival research, and interpretive programs. Join us to rediscover the History in your own backyards!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interns Blog: Piscataway Drill

For this blog, intern Stephanie Baldwin writes about an artifact that caught her eye in the field...

Piscataway Drill (rose quartz) – Late Archaic Period

Drill modified from a Piscataway point.
I chose to write about the Piscataway Drill that was found July 12, 2011 at Pig Point (18AN50) in Feature 11 Stratum G of Unit 51. Although I was working in Unit 80, not the feature that this point was found, the beauty of this point found at the same site sparked my interest in Late Archaic projectile points. This drill is made of a beautiful rose quartz. At the bottom of the drill there is a darker hue of rose/pink, and it gradually lightens into a light rose/pink at the tip.

This drill/knife could have possibly been made as a projectile point and re-sharpened into a drill or had been originally made as a drill. Although the tip of the drill/knife is broken off, it is evident to see that it has a drill shape to it. The term Piscataway [Stemmed] Points was coined by Stephenson, et al. in 1963. In the book Material Culture from Prehistoric Virginia, Wm Jack Hranicky explains the basic description of the Piscataway Points: “Stemmed; it is a small-to-medium, long and narrow point with contracting and pointed stems. Bases are usually pointed but rounded bases do occur” (614). This points date to the Late Archaic Period (3500 B.C. – 1000 B.C.).

A recent paper written by Al Luckenbach, Jessie Grow, and Shawn Sharpe explains some very interesting findings associated with Piscataway [Stemmed] Points. This paper describes the stratigraphy and chronology of the Pig Point site and discusses the regional implications of the results obtained for Piscataway and triangular points (Luckenbach et al.: 3). While triangle points are commonly associated with the Late Woodland period (A.D. 900 – A.D. 1650), triangle points at Pig Point are being found in situ and associated with Piscataway points from the Archaic period. This indicates that triangle points were used in at least two different periods of prehistory.    

Originally the beauty of this point caught my eye, but now the history behind this point makes it so much more fascinating! It proves what archaeologists' say, “It’s not what you find, but what you find out.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two new Patch Articles

Photo of Pat Melville taken by David Pecor
for the Volunteer Q&A article.
The Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch published two more articles about Pig Point and the Lost Towns Project this week. Part III is about lab work and volunteer and internship opportunities. The final article is a Q&A with our volunteer Pat Melville. Both are fantastic and you can check them out below!  


Friday, July 8, 2011

Death of a Digloo

Shawn and Erin take a break from excavating to help take down the Digloo frame.
 Written by Lauren Schiszik, LTP Staff

It's the end of an era at London Town. Yesterday, the Rumney's Tavern Digloo (translation: igloo that we dig in) was dismantled. After more than a decade of sheltering the earthen cellar-hole of Rumney's Tavern, it was taken down in preparation for bigger and better things. The Rumney/West Tavern will be reconstructed in the same manner as the Lord Mayor's Tenement and the Carpenter's Shop at London Town.  Before we do that, however, we need to excavate more postholes to figure out what exactly the footprint of the building should be. Some of the postholes were inaccessible because the digloo frame was on top of them! Now that it's gone, we can excavate and analyze the postholes and determine the chronology of building constructions, additions, and demolitions related to Rumney's. It's going to be a busy field season at London Town - and it doesn't look quite the same. Come check it out! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day out in the Field

This summer, we are having our interns write blogs about their experiences doing archaeology. I am posting this one a bit belatedly - sorry Patrick!
- Lauren

Written by Patrick Collins, Lost Towns Project Intern

From left to right: Interns Patrick Collins and Jillie Drutz help
Steph fill out paperwork at Pig Point. 
Today, Thursday, June 16, 2011, was an interesting day out in the field at Londontown. I learned more about digging into a feature, which is where a post was most likely placed in the past when people such as American Indians or British settlers were constructing things such as wigwams or houses. I also learned once more about how exactness, in terms of things such as measurements, is crucial when it comes to excavating. I also learned how an area that has been dug into, such as a feature, cannot be dated solely by an artifact that has been found within it. An archaeologist that I was working with mentioned how a coin that could say 1700 on it could be found in a stratum or layer in the ground that is from a time much later than 1700.
Later on I then continued waterscreening, which is something that I am very familiar with now. Waterscreening involves basically a net and a hose, and it is used for separating dirt from artifacts by spraying dirt away from the artifacts until the dirt filters through the net and only pieces of gravel and artifacts remain above the net. Today was an interesting day for waterscreening because I found some interesting artifacts such as pieces of plates that were most likely used by the colonial settlers at Londontown. I also found a piece of pottery, which I believe may have come from American Indian origin, and I found a bunch of bones from another pile of dirt that I waterscreened as well. 

Part II of Pig Point article

Hi folks -

Here's the link to the second part of the Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch article on Pig Point.


Check out the photo gallery too - there are some great shots. Happy reading and enjoy the Fourth of July weekend! 

- Lauren