Saunders Point (18AN39)

Historical research into the Saunders Point site on the South River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has been limited since no formal report has been written. Since its excavation in 1968, the site has been attributed to the 18th century occupation of the prominent Saunders family. Records show that Robert Saunders lived in the area and was a member of the social group known as the South River Club by at least 1742. He may be a descendant or relative of John Saunders, part owner of the Dove when it made its first voyage to Maryland in 1633.

Excavations at Saunders Point took place in 1968 when private owners discovered, with a bulldozer, a cellar feature where they intended to put a pool. Between two and three feet below present ground surface, the bulldozer operator uncovered colonial artifacts dating to c. 1750. Deposits ranged between two and four feet deep in a feature Stephen Israel tentatively interpreted as a cellar hole. Commander Robert and Janice Curts, Archaeological Society of Virginia archaeologists from Falls Church, spent many weekends from March through June 1968, supervising a salvage excavation of the feature. Archaeologist Stephen Israel assisted with the excavation of the cellar and prepared a summary report that is on file with the site form at the Maryland Historical Trust. Archaeologist George Miller later conducted a ceramic vessel analysis. The cellar was approximately 15’ by 18’, and was 3’ deep. Artifacts date the site to the mid-18th century.

Artifacts included glass, glass bottles, ceramics (earthenware, kitchen pans and jars, and fine tableware pieces including cups, saucers, and plates) and metal including bands, axes, cooking pans, and a brass sun dial. Several of the earthenware pans contained red and yellow paint pigments or hematite. The assemblage included at least 8 tin-glazed earthenware vessels, 27 white salt-glazed stoneware vessels (including 4 "barley" and "barley & basket" patterns, and 4 "scratch blue), 18 brown and gray salt-glazed stoneware vessels (including 7 Rhenish and 2 examples applied or incised, "GR"), 30 creamware vessels (including 1 Leeds-type teapot, feather edged, green-edged, hand-painted overglaze, and red transfer-printed examples), at least 11 pearlware vessels (including overglaze, underglaze, and blue and green edged examples), 1 dendritic mocha saucer, 4 sgrafitto, 15 slipwares (including red, red-on-white, and Germanic motifs), 11 coarse earthenwares including 3 chamber pots, 1 milk pan), and 1 window glass fragment with scratched signature, "Rachel Ridgely", note: lead came marks on top & sides.

(Edited from archeological site survey form, Maryland Historical Trust)


  • Child, Kathleen
  • 2007. Additional Phase I Archeological Survey and Phase II Site Evaluations for the MD 295 Improvements, MD 100 to I-95, and Hanover Road from High Tech Drive to MD 170, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties, Maryland. SHA Archeological Report No. 377.

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