Saturday, April 18, 2009


The crew was in the field today on another project...we found an Early Archaic site...but our Port Tobacco work moves apace. We expect to be in the lab Monday because of rain...that should give us time to re-bag the rest of the artifacts recovered during the March campaign. I doubt that we will get them catalogued Monday, but soon...


Friday, April 17, 2009

Field Session Event Schedule

Below is a tentative schedule of events for the ASM field session. There might be some small changes on the weekends with the Maryland Historical Trust offering lunchtime mini-workshops on soils description, troweling, etc. Stay tuned for updates.


Event Start End

Scott's monument repair demonstration 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Evening reception 7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Soils description workshop 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Ethics Workshop 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
Pete's mapping demonstration 4:00 PM 5:00 PM
Movie/Pizza night 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Allison's Johnson Island Military Prison ceramics talk 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Gabrielle Tayac talk 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Port Tobacco talk 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Law Workshop 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
Staff lecture on Civil War sites 12:00 PM 1:00 PM
Movie/Pizza night 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Afternoon fete 5:00 PM 8:00 PM

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Historic Ceramics Workshop

The annual field session presents an excellent opportunity for participants to hone skills in such areas as soils description and artifact identification. Traditionally, workshops on such subjects are held at lunchtime or in the evening during the field session. During this field session (May 22 through June 1) we will continue the tradition...but we will also break with it in a way that I think will benefit everybody.

Thanks to Dr. Patricia Samford, the MAC lab at J. Patterson Park & Museum will host a ceramics workshop on May 16, 10 AM to 2 PM, in the MAC lab conference room. I will serve as instructor and, using materials from Port Tobacco supplemented with slides and handouts, provide participants with the necessary tools to identify most historic ceramics as they emerge from the ground. I expect all workshop participants to become proficient ceramic identifiers after spending just a few days in the field at Port Tobacco.

Please bring a lunch and whatever scholarly apparatus (notebooks, pencils, etc.) you think necessary. This is a CAT event, but it is open to all ASM members. See you there.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More on Mrs. Wheeler and George Atzerodt

Always on the lookout for interesting information, Elsie, gave us some more information concerning the Lincoln Conspiracy and Port Tobacco.

In the book, Life, Crime, And Capture Of John Wilkes Booth by George Alfred Townsend,

"Atzerott had been in town just prior to the crime. He had been living with a widow woman named Mrs. Wheeler, by whom he had several children,and she was immediately called upon by Major O'Bierne. He did not tellher what Atzerott had done, but vaguely hinted that he had committed some terrible crime, and that since he had done her wrong, she couldvindicate both herself and justice by telling his whereabouts. The womanadmitted that Atzerott had been her bane, but she loved him, and refusedto betray him. His trunk was found in her garret, and in it the key to his paint shop in Port Tobacco. The latter was fruitlessly searched, but the probablewhereabouts of Atzerott in Mongomery county obtained, and Major O'Biernetelegraphing there immediately, the desperate fellow was found andlocked up. A man named Crangle who had succeeded Atzerott in Mrs.Wheeler's pliable affections, was arrested at once and put in jail. Anumber of disloyal people were indicated or "spotted" as in no wiseangry at the President's taking off, and for all such a provost prisonwas established."
What was it that Mr. Crangle was arrested for? Did he have any information that helped in the investigation? Was the aforementioned paint shop the same shop he was using with his brother in their carriage repair business?

There are a few references to Mr. Crangle that Elsie has passed along. Nicholas B. Crangle was a tailor doing business out of Port Tobacco as late as 1868 and was listed as on the jury during court terms in the early 1870's.

We'll try and find out more about Mr. Crangle and of course, continue our search for Mrs. Wheeler's house and the carriage shop of the Atzerodt brothers.

- Peter

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Anne and Stephanie spent the day re-bagging material from the March campaign that Anne and Scott washed on Saturday. There is still a pile of material to wash, re-bag, and catalogue before we can complete the report. More of the same tomorrow.

The Charles County Archaeological Society holds its monthly meeting at the College of Southern Maryland, Learning Center Room 102, this evening at 7:30. The subject: online historical research.


Monday, April 13, 2009

New Staff

During the past week, two new people joined the staff of Gibb Archaeological Consulting (GAC). While GAC is a separate entity from the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project, my staff plays an integral role in the Port Tobacco work.

Anne Hayward joined us last week. She is a recent graduate of St. Mary's College and interned with our colleagues Dennis Pogue and Esther White at Mount Vernon. She has interests in underwater archaeology, museum science, and historic textiles.

Stephanie Duensing joined us today. She is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park. She has interests in 18th and 19th-century sites.

I'll let them tell us all more about themselves as they get settled and start working on Port Tobacco material...they'll probably spend the next two days washing and re-bagging materials from the March Campaign while we wait out the inclement weather...I hope they will contribute some blogs.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Processing, processing, processing

I have been remiss the past two days in posting blogs. The reason is that several large projects undertaken simultaneously have occupied me and the GAC crew.

Despite greater activity than usual in other counties, we have not neglected Port Tobacco. Scott Lawrence and Anne Hayward (who has just joined the GAC team) spent the entirety of yesterday washing the artifacts we recovered from the Wade family's property around the north and west sides of the courthouse. I don't think they washed one-third of what we recovered in just two days worth of fieldwork.

No, Scott and Anne are not slackers...we just collected a huge amount of material from a mere 69 shovel tests. We will continue the washing and then catalogue the material as soon as possible.

Shalom and Good Easter to all.