Thursday, June 26, 2008

With Many Thanks

Dear Readers:
Processing and analysis of the materials recovered during the Archeological Society of Maryland's field session at Port Tobacco are proceeding rapidly and I expect that we will start sharing some of the preliminary results as soon as tomorrow. At this point, however, I would like to thank--on behalf of the PTAP crew-- the many individuals who have made this undertaking a success:

Mr. Calvin Compton and Dr. Dorothy Barbour gave us permission to work on their land for which we are all grateful. Without that access, there would not have been a field session. Indeed, there would be no PTAP.

Mr. Jim Berry on a few hours notice used his skip loader to backfill all of our excavations, saving the project several hundred dollars and allowing us to use our volunteer and staff labor to further explore the site on the last Sunday rather than devoting valuable time and labor to backfilling by hand.

Cathy Hardy, Donna Dudley, and Sheila Geissart and their colleagues in Charles County's departments of Planning and Economic Development provided critical logistical support, some funds, and lots of good cheer and moral support. They embody the true meaning of civil servant.

Sheila Smith, as always, never missed a beat in accommodating our motley crew. She also materially supported our survey of the plowed fields in the weeks leading up to the field session.

Ed Edelen provided an outstanding lunch and tours of his home at historic Mulberry Grove to at least 30 of the grubbiest, dirtiest vagabonds you'll ever want to meet. I'd have chased the whole crew off and called the police.

Dr. Charles Hall--Charlie--of the Maryland Historical Trust brought his usual good cheer, passion for the work, and willingness to pitch in to the field session...he proved a critical link in our nearly over-extended crew. Thank you Charlie.

Dan Coates built our temporary shower behind the courthouse. A great deal of the field session's success can be attributed to Dan's efforts. Without that shower, we would not have been able to camp on site and in the Burch House. He saved us a lot of trouble and expense. Dan also built the new H-frame screens and the new platform screen that we hope will eventually replace the old, inefficient tripod screens that ASM has used for many years.

Our local friends Elsie Picyk and Steve Lohar brought their energy, dedication, and hard work to the field session each day, as they often have during the eight months or so that PTAP has existed. Steve and his wife Tina also treated the staff, an intern, and volunteers to dinner at a local restaurant, an evening of conviviality punctuated by a very impressive electrical storm.

Last, but by no means least, the PTAP crew thanks the ASM leadership and 86 registrants for many hours of hard work, collegiality, and high spirits. What a pleasure, and what a shame that we couldn't have stretched out the field session for several more days (or weeks?).

On a personal note, I want to thank my old friend and co-director, April, for her hard-headed determination to see every facet of the field session and our research conducted in an orderly manner. (Management really isn't my long suit.) Pete, Scott, and Dionisios brought intelligence and leadership and dedication to doing the best possible job to each of their excavations. Thank you all.

For those of you whom I've forgotten to mention, please accept my apologies. I hope there will be plenty of opportunities to recognize your efforts as the project steams on.

We'll get back to reporting on results tomorrow. Laboratory days at the MHT lab in Crownville begin next week and will occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


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