Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We have used various resources in our research of Port Tobacco including maps. For centuries, maps have been used throughout the world for varying reasons.

I had the pleasure of attending an exhibit at the Walters Art Museum a few months back that was dedicated to maps. There were maps of the universe taken from space, a map of the first internet, a map from 15th Century China showing all the Buddhist temples along routes in and out of Peking, even a map of the fictional Hundred Acre Woods from Winnie the Pooh!

So why am I talking about maps?

Simple. Maps make up a large part of the work we do. We use them to recreate a site and to help us look for foundations, roads, fences, and any other marker to help us find our way. However, maps don't just show up on our doorstep. Sometimes maps are drawn from memory for others to use, as in the case of the Barbour map that we have used and posted here before. Others are found in land records or the state archives that give us dimensions of land. A few maps have been created as well. The land records don't always have a drawn map but do have a written one with metes and bounds for us to reconstruct on the computer using AutoCAD. These maps can then be scaled to fit existing historical plats and help us pinpoint the location of whatever it is we are looking for. Maps can also be used to help in the reconstruction of not only towns and roads but also geological features such as rivers and streams.

Maps alone will not always help you find what you are looking for but they are a great tool to utilize in archaeology!

- Peter

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