Kelly Pool Site (18AN398)

The Kelly Pool Site (18AN398) is primarily a late 18th- to mid-19th-century domestic site (with a small prehistoric component) on the Fort George G. Meade property near Odenton in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The site is situated on a hilltop surrounded by recreation facilities and access roads, with the Franklin Branch of the Patuxent River situated just to the west. The site was first identified in the mid-1970s by a local collector, who reported it to the Maryland Historical Trust.

In 1993, a Phase I survey was made of the Fort Meade property, conducted as part of an official “Cultural Resources Management Plan” for the base. Phase I work in the vicinity of 18AN398 entailed the excavation of 95 shovel test pits. Cultural materials were recovered from 28 of the 95 initial shovel tests. Fifteen shovel tests produced only modern machine-made bottle glass, asphalt, coal, wire nails and ceramic tile that were discarded in the field. Thirteen tests yielded historic materials that were retained. This southern locus produced both prehistoric and historic artifacts and was thought to correspond to the location of previously identified site 18AN398. The prehistoric component consisted of 2 quartz flakes, 30 meters apart. The prehistoric component may retain some integrity, but the small quantity of material suggested that it contained only limited potential to answer significant research questions.

The historic component in the southern-most locus yielded a mix of modern materials such as machine-made bottle glass, coal, slag, and wire nails, and 18th- to early 19th-century artifacts, including hand wrought nails, possible pearlware, whiteware, dark glazed redware, and a brass belt buckle. The more modern artifacts were recovered almost exclusively from topsoil or fill atop a buried A horizon, while the earlier materials came from the buried A layer. This stratigraphic differentiation indicates the two sets of artifacts reflect discontinuous cultural behavior. The early architectural, clothing, and kitchen-related materials probably stem from a domestic site of 18th- to early 19th-century date, while the later materials probably reflect 20th-century rubbish disposal/filling activities.

In 1726, John Worthington patented 1,368 acres of land known as “Worthington’s Beginning”, an area comprising most of the Fort Meade military installation. An undetermined portion of this land was given to his daughter, Ann, as a dowry in 1784. At the end of the 18th century, the parcel was further subdivided, but the actual property grantors and grantees are not clear. At the beginning of the 19th century, a Richard Disney acquired 500 acres of “Worthington’s Beginning”. After Disney’s death in 1849, his property was willed to his heirs, who retained the property until 1873. An 1860 map shows a house belonging to R. Disney’s heirs in the vicinity of 18AN398. In 1873, the family sold a 94.4 acre portion of the property, likely including the site 18AN398 area, to James and Louisa Downs.

In late 2002, a Phase II testing program was carried out at 18AN398, including excavation of STPs and formal test units. Nineteen test units were placed within the historic artifact concentration in Locus A. Six test units were placed within Locus B. No cultural features related to the prehistoric or historic occupation of 18AN398 were identified in either locus. In Locus A, 1,330 artifacts were recovered during the Phase II evaluation. Of these, five are prehistoric, 1,118 are historic (pre 1940) or non-dateable, and 207 are modern (post 1940). Locus B yielded 354 historic or non-dateable and 8 modern artifacts.

Site 18AN398 appears to have been primarily an historic domestic site occupied from the late 18th to mid-19th century. It is possible that Ann Worthington and her husband John McCannon built the house located at 18AN398 sometime after 1784. However, based on the ephemeral nature of the structure and diagnostic artifacts, it is more likely that a tenant farmer, probably growing tobacco, built a frame structure on the property at the end of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Richard Disney acquired 500 acres and an 1860 map shows a house belonging to Disney’s heirs in the vicinity of 18AN398. Artifacts suggest this house was not occupied after Richard Disney’s death in 1849. The small prehistoric component of the site probably represents an ephemeral resource procurement camp of which little evidence remains. The Phase II evaluation recovered 5 prehistoric artifacts, supplementing the 2 quartz flakes found during Phase I. None of the prehistoric artifacts was diagnostic, and all were found in soil layers that also contained historic materials.

18AN398 is confined to the plowzone, and no vertical or horizontal artifact patterning was evident. No historic or prehistoric features were identified. In addition, portions of the property have been disturbed as a result of the construction of recreational facilities in the area. Site 18AN398 is not likely to yield significant information about prehistory or history, and should not be considered a significant archaeological resource.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)


  • Mock, Kevin, Heather Crowl, and Kathleen Furgerson
  • 2003. Fort Meade, Phase II Archaeological Evaluation of Sites 18AN398, 18AN929, 18AN982, 18AN983, 18AN988, and 18AN989. Anne Arundel County, Maryland. URS Group, Bethesda MD.

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