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"That long a goe there came a King from the Easterne Shoare who Comanded over all the Indians now inhabiting within the bounds of this Province... the Governmt descended for thirteene Generacons without Interrupcon untill Kittamaquunds tyme"

- Oral testimony of Piscataway history from unnamed brother of the Piscataway tayac, Uttapoingassinem, 1660

Quick Stats

NAME

Native sites*


STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

Archaeological sites representing 8,000 years of continuous Native presence


EARLIEST OCCUPATION

c. 7000–8000 years ago


AREA

Approximately 1.30 acres


DATES OF OCCUPANCY/USE

5000–6000 BCE to 1634 CE


EXCAVATED AREA

<1%

SIGNIFICANCE

These archaeological sites represent approximately 8,000 years of Native presence in southern Maryland. Artifacts found here demonstrate consistent use of the area from the deeper past up to the point of European colonial arrival. The study and interpretation of these sites is critical to understanding the long history of Native life in Maryland. It also offers the opportunity to reflect on the nature of historical colonialism in Maryland and its continuing effects in today's world.

* Formal name to be assigned following archaeological study

Discovering a Much Deeper History

In the early 1980s, concerns over the proposed construction of a hotel on a parcel of land north of Maryland Rt. 5 known as the Mill Field led archaeologists at Historic St. Mary's City to conduct a study to determine if any archaeological remains lay hidden below the ground in the field in question. To learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, the team worked with a local farmer to prepare the field. The farmer plowed the fields and the archaeologists gridded it into 10 ft. x 10 ft. squares and collected the artifacts that were brought to the surface by the plowing. Artifacts from each grid square were collected together and the total numbers of each artifact type were mapped to identify areas where artifacts were densely clustered. This work revealed many archaeological sites across the Mill Field spanning thousands of years of history. Fortunately the discovery of so many archaeological resources was enough to discourage any construction in the area.

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Surface collection in the Mill Field, ca. 1984

Included among the materials recovered was a Stanley Stemmed point, a flaked stone projectile point dating to between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago during a time archaeologists call the Middle Archaic Period. Other projectile points from the Late Archaic period (3750 to 1250 BCE) were found, including Piscataway and Holmes points. Pottery from the Early Woodland Period (1250 BCE to 50 CE), such as Accokeek ware, was discovered, along with Late Woodland (950 to 1600 CE) pottery such as Townsend and Potomac Creek wares. These locations also held large quantities of what archaeologists call debitage, or the chips of stone waste that result from stone tool production. Taken as a whole, the artifacts found during the surface collection survey represented nearly 8,000 years of continuous use and occupation leading up to the time that European colonists arrived on the shores of what would come to be called the St. Mary's River.

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Native peoples spread across portions of this landscape for nearly 8,000 years