Fischer Site (18AN512)

The Belt Residence Site is located in west of MD 3, roughly 500 feet north of the intersection between MD 3 and MD 175. The site is situated on a gentle slope that angles down to the south-southeast in the direction of a tributary of Jabez Branch.

The site was first identified by Terrence Epperson during a survey of the MD 3 corridor conducted in 1980. Epperson interviewed then property owner Charles S. Sands who described a small, gable-roofed, board-and-batten dwelling constructed on a sandstone foundation. At the time of Epperson’s survey, the only visible remains of the dwelling was a rectangular depression with several foundation stones still in place, and part of the brick chimney. Mr. Sand’s testimony indicated that the foundation belonged to a small tenant house the Sands family had built for William and Lillie Belt around 1900. Mr. Belt was an African American who had been retained by the Sands family to do farm work and train horses, while Mrs. Belt was employed to perform domestic services. Mrs. Belt (nee Thomas) was possibly a member of the “Brandywine” ethnic group that reportedly had Caucasian, African-American and Native American ancestry. Epperson’s research neither confirmed nor denied that Mrs. Belt’s supposed Brandywine ancestry. The Belt family lived in the dwelling until approximately 1920.

The 2003 archaeological investigations were conducted by URS Corporation for the State Highway Administration, Maryland Department of Transportation. The site was cleared of vegetation and the following features were identified: Remains of the 8.5 x 6m dwelling house, including foundation stones of minimally dressed, dry-laid sandstone and a depression in the southern half which represents a partially slumped cellar hole containing remnants of a collapsed chimney. Roughly 13 meters east of the foundation is a large, circular depression, possibly representing a borrow pit, and 16 meters east of the foundation a second, smaller, circular depression possibly represents a well or privy. A nearby oval-shaped depression may have been created by a drainpipe.

Nine transects, designated A-I, were laid out across the site in a north-south direction and spaced a 10 meter intervals. Shovel Test Units were placed at 10 meter intervals along each transect and numbered from north to south. A total of 52 STPs were excavated on the 9 transects. Six additional, judgmental STPs were also excavated; 5 of these in and around the possible borrow pit and one in the center of the possible well/privy. A total of 398 artifacts were recovered during shovel testing.

Six test units were placed either to examine features exposed at the surface, or to recover larger artifact samples in areas were shovel testing indicated the presence of material concentrations. Test unit 1 was placed 3 meters south of the foundation to examine the yard area. Test units 2 and 6 were placed within the north end of the dwelling foundation. Test unit 3 was placed 10 meters south of the foundation. Test unit 4 was placed in the southeastern corner of the cellar hole. Test unit 5 was placed straddling part of the possible well/privy feature. No further cultural features were identified beyond those identified at the surface, with the exception of a possible builder’s trench in test units 2 and 6.

A total of 1,079 artifacts were collected during phase II testing.

(Edited from Affleck et al. 2004)

References

  • Affleck, Richard, Roy A. Hampton III, Jeffrey Harbison, and Bernard Slaughter
  • 2004. Phase I and II Archeological Investigations, Maryland Route 3, from Maryland Route 32 to U.S. 50, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland. SHA Archeological Report No. 307.

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