TDJ- Field N (2) (18BA158)

Site 18BA158 is a multicomponent prehistoric site near the Arbutus area of Baltimore County. Middle and Late Archaic components are present, as well as Early, Middle, and Late Woodland occupations.

This site was initially identified around 1904 \by Talbot D. Jones, an active avocational archaeologist. In 1995, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was beginning to undertake the construction of the UMBC Research Park and Playfields on the former Wartman-Lurman property (which included Site 18BA158). Phase I work at the site entailed the excavation of shovel test pits (STPs), along with pedestrian survey. Additional testing was carried out around select positive STPs at 7.5 m intervals when site boundaries were unclear. Survey of the field led to identification of four loci, named Loci A, B, C, and D.

Locus A forms the westernmost portion of the site and cultural materials were recovered from 49 of the 54 shovel tests placed there. Prehistoric artifacts recovered from the locus included 3 bifaces, 16 flake tools, 8 cores, and 96 pieces of debitage. The distribution of this material was relatively thin, except for a concentration in the southeastern portion of the locus.

Locus B forms the easternmost portion of the site and cultural materials were recovered from 24 of the 39 shovel tests placed there. Prehistoric artifacts from this locus included 2 bifaces, 1 retouched and 8 utilized flakes and 48 pieces of debitage.

Locus C forms the southernmost portion of Site 18BA158. Cultural materials were recovered from 10 of 12 STPs placed in this area during Phase I work. Prehistoric artifacts recovered included 5 flake tools, 4 cores, 22 pieces of debitage, and a possible fire-cracked rock fragment. The prevalence of tested cobbles and cores, the high percentage of cortical flakes (54%), limited raw material variability, and the large size of recovered flakes indicates that a major focus of activity in this locus was core preparation and primary lithic reduction.

Locus D forms the central portion of the site. Four shovel tests were excavated in this small area, three of which produced artifacts. Two produced only prehistoric artifacts (a core and a utilized flake).

Phase II evaluation at the site included the placement of 1 X 1 m test units within areas in which shovel tests produced concentrations of prehistoric artifacts that were deeply buried, highly concentrated, or functionally discrete. Most of the prehistoric artifacts (97.91%) were concentrated within the plowzone in each of the six test units placed in Locus A. The densest concentration of materials was in the southern portion of the locus. The few artifacts recovered from below the plowzone came from the eastern portion of the locus, where Phase I STPs had indicated potentially buried deposits.

A total of 719 prehistoric artifacts were recovered from the six test units in Locus A. This sub-assemblage included 6 bifaces, 27 flake tools, 3 cores, 537 pieces of debitage, 3 hammerstones, and 132 pieces of fire-cracked rock. Among the bifaces were a contracting stemmed point characteristic of the Late Archaic/Early Woodland interface and a quartz Potomac point. Locus A appears to represent a palimpsest of occupations dating from the Late Woodland and possibly Late Archaic periods.

Prehistoric artifacts were concentrated within the plowzone in all 7 test units in Locus B. The remains of a lithic reduction area were encountered in the southeastern portion of the locus, but the central portion of the locus was essentially devoid of artifacts. A total of 580 prehistoric artifacts were recovered from Locus B, including one probable Early Woodland Vernon point, and a point similar to the Middle Woodland Snyders point. Locus B appears to represent a series of brief occupations minimally dating from the Late Archaic to Early or Middle Woodland periods. The overall character of the assemblage is indicative of a resource procurement camp in which activities included primary and secondary lithic reduction, stone tool maintenance, and possibly the working of bone or wood. The relative dearth of evidence for features at the site, the moderate diversity of the assemblage, and the dispersed nature of the prehistoric debris suggest that its use was brief.

A total of 2,287 prehistoric artifacts were recovered during Phase II work in Locus C, including a Middle Archaic Stanley or Neville type point and a Late Woodland triangular point. Locus C represented the mixed remains of a quarry-related site dating from the Middle Archaic and Late Woodland periods. Most of the site had been destroyed by plowing and the gradual mass-wasting of sediments downhill onto the floodplain.

Loci A and B of Site 18BA158 were both multi-component, multiple activity resource extraction sites, minimally dating from the Late Archaic and Late Woodland periods. Locus B was characterized by a slightly greater degree of early stage lithic reduction while secondary reduction appears to have predominated in Locus A. Nearly all of the prehistoric artifacts recovered from both sites were from the plowzone. Locus C was characterized by quarry-related/early stage lithic reduction activities dating from the Middle Archaic and Late Woodland periods. Mass-wasting of sediments off the hillside onto the floodplain portion of the site compromised the integrity of that area. Based on these findings, Site 18BA158 does not appear to possess integrity and significant research potential.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)


  • Maymon, Jeffrey H., Katherine Grandine, and Colby A. Child
  • 1999. Phase I and II Archeological Investigations for the UMBC Research Park and Playfield, Baltimore County, Maryland. 2 vols. R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates, Inc.. Frederick, MD.

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