Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Looking Back...and Forth

The blog is one month old today! Happy Birthday Blog!

For those of you who haven't been with us from the beginning, it seems like time for a recap. For those who are faithful readers, I'll provide a peak into the future of the project.

The Port Tobacco Archaeological Project is a grant-funded public archaeology project to study the history of the Colonial port town of Port Tobacco. We are particularly interested in learning how the town adapted to the southward migration of its port, as sediment began to fill in the Port Tobacco River. In August of this year we began a shovel test pit survey of the town, digging holes of 16 inches in diameter down at 25 foot intervals to recover artifacts and look at soil development. With the first holes dug it became obvious that large areas of the town had their own sediment problems. The cellar of the Burch House may have been filled in by sediment from a catastrophic event, such as a flood or mudslide. Other areas of the town contain large amounts of gravelly sand, either brought in to deal with muddy yards or the result of another landslide.

The relative lack of 20th century construction within the town has preserved the remains of many buildings that are depicted on a series of maps from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also preserved are building remains that are not depicted on these maps, possibly from earlier occupations, and artifacts from Native American occupants, likely predating the arrival of Colonists.

A small army of volunteers assists the project staff in fieldwork, labwork, and archival research. These people are an integral part of the project and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

This coming Saturday is the annual meeting of the Archeology Society of Maryland. This is an opportunity for us to spread the word about our project and hopefully recruit some more volunteers.

The following weekend (Oct 19-21) is our Archeology Society of Maryland Volunteer Weekend. We will be hosting a herd of volunteers for three days of fieldwork, labwork, lectures, and workshops. Although we encourage you to join ASM before attending the volunteer weekend, membership is not required.

As word spreads about our project, various individuals and agencies that have a lot to offer in the form of information, partnerships, and other support are contacting us. Some local landowners outside of the town limits have invited us to their properties, to evaluate the potential to expand our study to the immediate vicinity.

Jim and I are busy writing grant applications, each to study a specific aspect of the Port Tobacco. Most of these applications would not provide funds until well into 2008 but we are optimistic that we will be able to continue with various aspects of the project throughout the winter months.


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