AVW/Area 2/Site 8 (18BA531)

Site 18BA531, also known as AVW/ Area 2/Site 8, is mid-19th- to early 20th-century artifact concentration located near the Middle River area of Baltimore County.

Archival research into the ownership of Site 18BA531 failed to reveal any clear chain-of-title for the individuals connected to the site. The only historic document to provide any indication of the ownership of the area is an 1877 Atlas of Baltimore County. The map shows a house owned by John Ritter in the approximate location of the site.

The site was first identified in 2005 during the course of a Phase I archaeological survey for a 1,000 acre property slated for development of a business campus. The site was identified based on the presence of 32 historic artifacts found in 13 of 14 shovel test pits excavated during Phase I work. Diagnostic artifacts included 1 undecorated pearlware sherd, 1 white salt-glazed stoneware sherd, 1 other salt-glazed stoneware sherd, 9 whiteware sherds (1 hand-painted, 1 sponged), and 2 olive bottle glass fragments. No intact cultural features were found in the site area. After examining the data, the site was classified as a late 18th or early 19th-20th century artifact concentration.

Phase II work in 2005 comprised 95 shovel tests. The site was estimated to have a dimension of 200 ft. north-south and 275 ft. east-west. The west central portion of the site had the greatest concentration of artifacts. Based on the nature and density of artifacts recovered, three 3 X 3 ft. test units were excavated. Forty-one shovel tests and all three test units produced artifacts. A total of 466 artifacts were recovered By quantity, the recovery consisted of the following: 1 prehistoric artifact (a fragment of quartz debitage), 413 historic artifacts, and 52 modern items.

The Phase II data suggest a small, short-term domestic occupation at the site. The residence was likely present between 1820 and 1920. This view was supported by the recovery of American porcelain, yellowware, whiteware, Rockingham, opaque canning lid glass, manganese-tinted glass, and miscellaneous modern artifacts. Based on the quantity and nature of the earlier artifacts, the presumed residence was thought to have been occupied for only a short period. Presumably, the dwelling was of wood frame construction and supported a brick chimney. The lack of intact masonry features supported this view. The distribution of artifacts was unhelpful in pinpointing a potential residence location. Those occupying the site were likely farmers: members of the Ritter’s family.

The research potential of this site, however, was dramatically reduced by the lack of soils with good stratigraphic integrity and displaced artifact recovery. Apparently, the extensive history of agriculture in this area dramatically impacted the yards connected with this early residence, leaving the soil completely disturbed.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)


  • Shellenhammer, Jason, Michael Roller, Ryan Papson, Michael McGinnes, Kelly Cooper, and Philip Hill
  • 2005. Phase II Archeological Evaluation of Sites 18BA470, 18BA526, 18BA536, and 18BA538 within Areas 2,5,and 9 on the 1,000-acre+/- A.V. Williams Trust Property Located Between Bird River Road and Leland Avenue in Baltimore County, Maryland. Archaeological Testing and Consulting, Inc.

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