A-1 (18AG229)

Site 18AG229 is a moderately large (90 x 140 meter) multi-component site located in the southeastern portion of the Barton Industrial Park in Allegany County, MD. It is also in the vicinity of an early to mid-nineteenth century historic homestead and family cemetery. The site was subjected to Phase I and Phase II work previous to the construction of the industrial park.

The site is situated on the eastern edge of a low Pleistocene terrace. Phase I survey involved a series of shovel tests following a 20 meter grid. A total of 289 prehistoric and two historic artifacts were recovered from the site during Phase I survey. Two diagnostic artifacts suggested a Late Woodland date for the site; 1 possible Madison/Potomac triangular point, and a fragment of incised ceramic pipe stem characteristic of Late Woodland Luray or Monongahela cultures.

This site is characterized as a possible short-term camp based upon the general character of the assemblage recovered. A majority of the debitage was classified as early/late stage core reduction flakes (n=214), suggesting on-site reduction of raw materials and early stage biface manufacture. The small percentage of primary core reduction flakes (n=7) suggests limited procurement and use of locally available materials. Historic material consisted of one fragment of window glass and one sherd of whiteware.

Phase II investigation was oriented 1) to define the integrity of the prehistoric components present at the site, and 2) to characterize spatial relationships and delineate activity areas. Additionally, the Phase II work aimed to ensure that no unmarked graves are located outside the defined family cemetery boundary. Initial field methods employed in evaluating the site involved the systematic excavation of 91 shovel test units at 10 m intervals. Upon completion of the shovel tests, distribution plots were generated to guide the placement of test units. Fifteen 1 X 1 meter test units were placed across the site to define intrasite spatial patterns and to delineate specific activity areas. Additionally, a total of eight backhoe trenches (four 1 X 10 meter and four 1 X 5 meter) were used to remove the plowzone and expose features. The 1 X 5 m trenches were excavated to investigate the presence or absence of cemetery plots located outside an iron family cemetery fence.

None of the features encountered during Phase II excavation appeared to be definitively cultural in origin. A total of 5,147 prehistoric and 77 historic artifacts were recovered during Phase II excavations. Two ceramic sherds were encountered (one of which is a probable Accokeek sherd) from the central portion of the site. The historic component appears to represent a low density diffuse scatter likely relating to the domestic and agricultural complex immediately south of the project area.

Phase I results from site 18AG229 suggested that this site had the potential to provide significant information about Late Woodland non-floodplain sites and the activities practiced therein. Unfortunately, Phase II evaluation revealed the site to be less intact than anticipated during the initial survey. The large span of time represented by the material (Early Archaic-Late Woodland), the limited diversity of material, and high degree of mixing of contexts in the plowzone severely limits the ability to recognize meaningful artifact patterning that could contribute to an understanding of prehistoric behavior and land use. Although some prehistoric behaviors can be inferred from the materials present at the site, they cannot be attributed to a specific cultural or temporal period.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)

References

  • Child, Colby A., Kathleen M. Child, Kristen Bastis, and Jeffrey H. Maymon
  • 2001. Phase II Archeological Evaluation of Sites 18AG23, 18AG229, and 18AG234 and Supplementary Archeological Survey for the Proposed Barton Business Park, Allegany County, Maryland. R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates, Frederick, MD.

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