Saturday, March 28, 2009

April 4 Symposium

I have been getting some questions about the Archeological Society of Maryland's Spring Symposium. In a nutshell, it will be held on April 4 at Historic St. Mary's City. It is a day-long event, open to all. Registration is on reservations are necessary...and the fees are $5 and $7 for members and non-members, respectively.

For more details, visit

For those of you who are interested in participating in the Society's annual field session, May 22 through June 1, prior registration is recommended. Again, visit the website above. The field session will be held at Port Tobacco in Charles County and my presentation at the Spring Symposium will review findings to date and some initial plans for the field session.

On another matter, Pete and I will revisit the Union encampment on Monday to finish the topographic mapping. That means we should have some preliminary results soon for that part of the March campaign.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Upcoming Port Tobacco Fieldwork

By popular demand, here is a sketch of our upcoming fieldwork schedule.

April - No planned excavation at this time
May - Archeological Society of Maryland field session at Port Tobacco (May 22-June 1)
June - 4 full weeks of excavation fun
July - No planned excavation at this time

So if you want to come dig with us, keep May 22-June 29 free. After June is over we will focus on artifact washing and cataloging to get us out of the heat of the July/August and keep us from developing too much of a backlog.

Questions? Comments?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And the winners are....part 2.

The second intern to join us for the summer is Magen.

Magen worked at Port Tobacco during the March Campiagn, as one of the Heidelberg Five. Her previous archaeology experience comes from field schools in Ohio and Virginia (Poplar Forest) and her research on marbles and carved bone from Johnson's Island. Magen will be a Junior at Heidelberg in the fall so there is still plenty time for her to work with us on Port Tobacco after the summer internship.

While I will be looking to Allison to help with fieldwork supervision, Magen is going to take an active role in helping us document some of the more unique artifacts as they come out of the ground. We will try to bring those artifacts to our blog readers through photos and descriptions in a more timely fashion than has been our norm. Maybe even within 24 hours of their discovery. We'll see how things progress.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And the winners are....

PTAP offered summer internships to three Heidelberg University students today. Pete suggested that I blog about our new recruits. For today I will give you a brief profile of our most senior intern, Allison.

Allison is a senior at Heidelberg and in the honors program. Her senior capstone project is entitled "Ceramics as a Sign of Prisoner Treatment through Time at Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison Camp." I saw Allison give a presentation on her research at Heidelberg's annual student research conference and she is an excellent public speaker. Afterwards, I got to meet her mom who told me about her daughter's love for archaeology starting at a young age.

Allsion has completed fieldschools at Johnson's Island (OH), Strawtown (IN), and Valladloid (Spain) and has volunteered at excavations and at the local history museum. Her resume is as jam packed as a student intern's resume can get and is full of highlights that would make any mom proud.

I will be relying on Allison's experience to help keep everything organized and running smoothly during our 5 week summer field session.

Welcome aboard.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Hobnobbing Part Deux

This past weekend Jim and I were at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference in Ocean City Maryland. For those of you who could not make it, here is the abstract of the presentation I gave on Port Tobacco. And for those of you that did, thanks for coming!

Searching for the Lost Town of Port Tobacco

Now in its second year, the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project has successfully identified numerous 18th- and 19th-century sites comprising the town of Port Tobacco, as well as its predecessors: the aboriginal town of Portobac (or Potobac) and early 18th-century Chandler’s Town. Close-interval shovel testing and detailed mapping of all surface finds has allowed the team to delineate each of these sites with marked accuracy and precision. Different methods of excavation have been employed in order to survey the town and the outlying areas over the past two years. Shovel test surveys, surface collection and unit excavations at Port Tobacco have all proven to be successful methods for understanding the layout of this 350 year old town.

The conference sessions covered underwater archaeology, Historic African American Communities, Military-Site Archaeology, Eastern Woodlands, Soil Science Archaeology, Colonial Period, Collection Management, American Indian Archaeology, and Class Distinction.

All in all, it was a good conference...mostly...Jim was battling a bad cold. Its time now to start focusing on the next conference which I think isn't until October.

- Peter