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“We have seated ourselves, within one half mile of the river, within a pallizado of one hundred and twentie yarde square, with four flankes, we have mounted one peece of ordnance, and placed six murderers in parts most convenient; a fortification (we thinke) sufficient to defend against any such weak enemies as we have reason to expect here”

- Letter from Governor Leonard Calvert to Sir Richard Lechford, 30 May 1634

Quick Stats

NAME

St. Mary’s Fort


STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

Founding site of colonial Maryland


CONSTRUCTION DATE

Spring/summer of 1634


SIZE

312′ × 177′/ 104 × 59 yards / 1.25 acres


DATES OF OCCUPANCY

1634–1642/1643


NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS

140–160 colonists in 1634, more than 200 at peak occupancy

EXCAVATED AREA

<2%

SIGNIFICANCE

St. Mary's Fort represented the first major foothold of European settlement in Maryland. Its discovery and interpretation is critical to understanding the earliest period of colonial life in the state, a period that is not well-documented historically or archaeologically. This discovery also offers the opportunity to reflect on the nature of historical colonialism in Maryland and its continuing effects in today’s world.

Discovery

For years the true location of the Fort was a mystery. Learn more about the history of discovery and see how our team of scientists was finally able to confirm the true location. 

Fort Map

Explore what we have found so far and follow our dig progress with this interactive map. Just click on the pins to learn more about each aspect of this historic exciting location.