Second Terrace (18AG23)
The Second Terrace (18AG23) is a multi-component Barton Complex site first identified in 1987 and then subjected to Phase
I and II work in 2000. Preliminary exploration identified the site as an Early and Middle Woodland low-density lithic
scatter with possible cultural features beneath the plowzone. Subsequent work has revealed Early Archaic,
Late Archaic, Archaic/Woodland transitional, and Early Woodland components.
The site is situated on a slightly elevated rise of the northern floodplain of the North Branch of the Potomac. Soils
belong primarily to the Weikert-Calvi-Lehav association, shallow and well-drained shale to stony soils. Phase I
survey was carried out in anticipation of the proposed construction of the Barton Business Park. The survey
involved 62 shovel tests and examination of 3 backhoe trenches.
In 1987, the site was examined as part of the annual ASM field session. This fieldwork involved a controlled surface
collection and four 1 X 1 m test units. A few apparent pit and shallow midden features were exposed in these
units, but these features yielded very little, including a complete lack of faunal material. Flotation samples were
taken, but yielded nothing. Forty-three very small and mostly worn ceramic sherds were encountered. Temper is
primarily chert or crushed rock. The lithics recovered consist mainly of local cherts and siltstones,
although a number of rhyolite flakes were also recovered. Most of the flakes recovered were either small
thinning flakes or retouch flakes. This lithic assemblage consists of 1 point, 3 bifaces, 1 scraper, 1
utilized/retouched flake, 1 core, 324 pieces of flake or debitage, 1 pebble core, and 1 celt.
The Phase I study identified 3 concentrations of fire-cracked rock and fire-reddened cobbles (i.e. hearths) in
intact stratigraphic horizons beneath the plowzone. Among the 280 prehistoric artifacts recovered during Phase I testing
were 3 ceramic sherds (2 shell-tempered, 1 crushed quartz sherd similar to Accokeek ware). Flaked stone artifacts
included 3 projectile points (1 Drybrook Fishtail, 1 probable Kirk stemmed, 1 unidentifiable), 220 pieces of
debitage, 4 used/retouched flakes, and 2 cores. One hammerstone, 19 pieces of fire cracked rock, and 23 fire-reddened
cobbles were also recovered. Lithic raw materials included varieties of chert (over half of the assemblage),
rhyolite, quartzite, quartz, sandstone, and sedimentary rock.
Phase II testing was undertaken when it became apparent that a portion of the site would be within the affected area
of the proposed Barton Business Park access road. Phase II work was designed to determine the National Register
eligibility of 18AG23. Four 1 X 1 meter test units were excavated along the eastern edge of the proposed
access road. All units were excavated to a minimum depth of 120 cm, at which point a 50 X 50 cm director’s
window was excavated in the southwest corner of the unit. Three backhoe trenches were excavated in the northwestern
portion of the site, one of which was atop a hearth feature first identified during Phase I research.
A sixth 1 X 1 m unit was placed over this feature once the trench had removed the overburden. The other two
trenches were excavated perpendicular to this initial trench and were intended to investigate the potential for
additional cultural features located in proximity to the hearth (Feature 1-01).
A total of 89 prehistoric artifacts were recovered during the Phase II evaluation at 18AG23. Among these were 33 pieces
of debitage (mostly chert), 3 used flakes, 44 pieces of fire-cracked rock, and 3 heated stone cobbles. In addition,
one unidentified unburnt nut/shell, 2 unclassified burnt shell fragments, and 3 burnt wood fragments were recovered
from the hearth feature (1-01). A charcoal sample was taken from the center of this hearth and the results are
detailed above. A small number of historic remains were also recovered (1 gray stoneware sherd, 1 nail, 1 rail
spike, and 1 bit of architectural stone).
Site 18AG23 is a large and varied site which in parts may possess the potential to yield historically significant
information, however, the portion of the site within the Barton Business Park is not likely to
yield important information.
Historical Trust Synthesis Project)