Friday, March 13, 2009

Successful Campaign

As I write this blog, April and the Heidelberg Five should be arriving back in Tiffin, Ohio. We had an outstanding March Campaign, identifying and investigating the structure of a Federal encampment outside of town and we finished sampling around the courthouse (thanks to Mr. Frank Wade's permission to work on his land) and most of the village green (land owned by Mrs. Dorothy Barbour).

Our success is due in large part to our regular volunteers and to the very capable Heidelberg students. The PTAP team really enjoyed working with Megan, Bethany, Theresa, Amanda, and Tyler...what a great group of students. I hope they all return.

We'll have the results of this lightening campaign is a month or two...I'm pretty busy with non-Port Tobacco work, but we'll get to it.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catch Up Day

Today is a day off for the Heidelberg crew. Along with the rest of the
PTAP team and our volunteers we put in three hard days of fieldwork so
it was a well earned break.

I took the students down to Point Lookout State Park where Rob Jones
was kind enough to provide us with guided tours of the Civil War fort
and prison, the lighthouse, and the park museum. These sites are not
yet open for the season so we appreciate Mr. Jones' willingness to
accomodate us.

The students are enjoying some time on the beach of the park as I
type. Our next stop is a quick lunch before a visit to Historic Saint
Mary's City, which is nearby Point Lookout. There Silas Hurry will
give us a special tour of their lab facilities.

Tomorrow we will be back to work in downtown Port Tobacco. The goal is
to shovel test the village green across from the courthouse.

Friday we are back on the road to return to Heidelberg. Classes resume
on Monday.

April M. Beisaw

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Yes, it is a Civil War era encampment...a few lead projectiles, caps, and horseshoes...lots of horseshoes and horseshoe nails. A cavalry unit likely occupied the site above the village of Port Tobacco late in the war.

We aren't done yet...another day should do it. We will have shovel tested the entire site, mapped it, and conducted metal detecting across most of it. The site has been metal detected at least since 1990, but the hunters left most of the iron artifacts behind. As a result, we may be able to identify one or more structures from the nails and perhaps a corral in which the horses were kept.

Of course, we are weeks away from completing an analysis of the material. But soon, very soon.

Enough for is on the way and the Charles County Archaeological Chapter meets tonight here at Port Tobacco at 7:30PM.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Phase I Completed, Phase II starting

Our combined crews completed the survey around the courthouse today...well-executed and informative. we are confident that we have located the Smoot House as well as other buildings.

Tuesday we will begin work on one of two Federal encampments found by Steve Lohr. This site lies outside of Port Tobacco and is accessible from US 301. The crew will rendezvous at the courthouse at 8:00AM and then proceed back to US 301, on which we will head south a short distance (a mile or so), turning right onto Old Stagecoach Road. From Old Stagecoach, we will make the second left into the Locust Grove subdivision (Locust Grove Drive). We will park alongside the road.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, we will be working on private land. The owner has given the PTAP team permission to conduct investigations on his land. All others are subject to prosecution, not to mention my ire. We welcome volunteers.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Maryland Welcomes Heidelberg Five

The combined Heidelberg Five (April's students who couldn't seem to find there way to Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break) and their erstwhile professor teamed with the rest of the PTAP crew of staff and volunteers for a very profitable field day at Port Tobacco.

Mr. Frank Wade, owner of the lots on the north and west sides of the courthouse (sites of the Smoot House and the infamous Brawner House), granted us permission to shovel test those areas. We'll finish tomorrow. So far we have found several likely building sites and some very deep deposits.

It was a great feeling for the PTAP to return to Port Tobacco after having been absent since last June. We finally have some funding in place, thanks to the National Park Service, and we are hopeful that we will have enough from several sources to keep us active through the end of the year. Our research is progressing and we are all still having a great time. Hopefully we'll have some preliminary results to share next week.

At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I think we have assembled a great team and nobody gets results out faster than the PTAP crew. Welcome Heidelbergers to the PTAP family.