Sunday, July 6, 2008

News Grab Bag

Due to an unstable Internet connection, I've been out of the loop for several days. That does not mean, however, that work has stopped or even slowed. Here are a few updates.

We will hold laboratory sessions at Port Tobacco on Wednesday, July 9 and Saturday, July 12. These will be in the shade in front of the courthouse (inside if it is raining or oppressively hot) between 9:30AM and 3PM. We hope folks down in the Charles County area will be able to join us.

Last week we started a regular Tuesday/Thursday lab at the Maryland Historical Trust in Crownsville. The Trust has generously renewed last year's arrangement in letting us have space in the lab. We are there from 9AM to 3PM on those days for the next eight weeks or so.

We are still trying to wrap up the report on the field collection survey, but the amount of mapping data we collected seems endless as we enter it all into a digital database. I still hope to finish the report by the end of this coming week.

On the Fourth of July I set up a continuous loop slide show and an artifact table at the Thomas Stone National Historic Site as part of their celebration of the nation's birthday and of the life of Thomas Stone, one of Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Park Service staff was wonderful to work with and I hope we will conduct many more collaborative projects. I am particularly interested in the archaeology that the NPS conducted at Thomas Stone's house site prior to its reconstruction after a catastrophic fire some years ago. Eventually, PTAP will look at many of the town's outlying plantation and farm sites, mills, smithies, and other archaeological sites as we bring the Port Tobacco story into greater focus.

Our forays outside of town began this past spring with the survey of Mr. Edelen's fields and will continue in late summer and fall as we begin to seek some of the Civil War related sites in the immediate vicinity. Steve Lohar, one of our regular volunteers, has already provided some information on these sites and one of the visitors whom I met at the Thomas Stone event has some ideas on where others might be located.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that the project moves ahead at full steam even if our presence on site is not as obvious as it was during the Archeological Society of Maryland's field session. We were sad to see the tents come down and the excavations filled in, but expect to re-erect those tents and open new windows into the area's past in the very near future.


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