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!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Exciting News from Pig Point!

This summer at Pig Point, LTP intern Elizabeth Fuhr worked in the Upper Block and got to spend some time digging a feature that is the source of some incredibly exciting news! Liz authored the post below:

In July, a small feature at Pig Point (18AN50) was excavated. This feature, now known as Feature 178, was found intruding into Stratum 12 in Unit 70. It was found to contain ash and charcoal. The charcoal was sent to a lab to be carbon dated and we recently received the results. The charcoal dates back to BC 7340 - 7070, over 9000 years ago! This dates this feature back to the Early Archaic.
Radiocarbon dating is a technique utilized by many archaeologists. This technique involves measuring the loss of the isotope Carbon-14. This isotope accumulates during the life of organisms. At death, the isotope will decay at a constant rate; in which the half life is 5730 years. By measuring the amount of the isotope left within the organism, the age of the organism can be found.

Elizabeth Fuhr holds a projectile point that she found
on site! 

This is not only the oldest date from good context we have from Pig Point, but it is also the oldest date from good context in the state of Maryland. The difference between a good and bad context is determined by the location in which the material is located. A good location has direct cultural connections: the carbonized material is found in an intact feature and the feature hasn't been disturbed by animals or other similar things. Older carbon-14 dates exist in Maryland, but not with direct cultural associations like Feature 178.

A Kirk Palmer point was found about 15 feet away from the feature, and temporally coincides very well with Feature 178. This point was found on top of heavy gravel while Feature 178 intruded into the gravel.

This new date is wonderful news for Pig Point, the Lost Towns Project, and archaeology in Maryland!

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