MD Route 4 Site A (18CA203)

MD Route 4 Site A (18CA203) is a multicomponent site with Late Archaic through Late Woodland occupations and a historic refuse scatter. It is situated on a bluff on the southern bank of Watts Creek in Caroline County.

Phase I investigations were conducted in mid-1998. The project area was divided into 7 sections (A-G). Shovel test pits (STPs) were excavated at 20 m intervals. Site 18CA203 was identified in the southern portion of Section C in the project area and was defined by 10 STPs.

Phase II archival research was begun in December 1998 and fieldwork was conducted in early 1999. A series of 58 shovel test pits (STPs) and six 1 m² test units (TUs) were excavated at the site. All excavated soils were screened through ¼” mesh hardware cloth and all encountered artifacts were retained. Cultural features were bisected and excavated; most features were fully excavated. Soil samples were collected from features for flotation.

Based on the results of the Phase II investigations, it was determined that the prehistoric component of the site was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D. The historic component of 18CA203 was considered to have no in situ integrity and no research potential and was therefore not considered eligible for listing on the National Register.

A Phase III data recovery program was initiated in September 2005. A total of 24 test units (TUs) were excavated in 4 blocks. All units were excavated in arbitrary 5 cm levels within natural stratigraphy. On completion of the TU excavations, five 1 meter wide trenches were mechanically stripped of plowzone to search for features across a wider portion of the site.

1060 prehistoric artifacts were recovered from all phases of archaeological excavation at 18CA203. A total of 4099 historic artifacts were also collected from 18CA203. No early structures were located within the site area and the historic materials may represent secondary refuse disposal from another nearby location.

MD Route 4 Site A (18CA203) is a multicomponent site with Late Archaic through Late Woodland occupations and a historic refuse scatter. The artifact distribution at the site suggested stratified but collapsed prehistoric contexts. The recovery of historic artifacts from all levels within the units also suggested some mixing of contexts. The lithic artifact assemblage suggested that expedient stone tool manufacture was one of the primary activities at the site. Much of the debitage reflected late stage work such as biface manufacture and re-sharpening. It was determined that substantial intact deposits were not likely to be located outside of the limits of disturbance at the site. The data recovery work mitigated the adverse impacts to the affected portion of the site, therefore, no further archaeological research was recommended.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)


  • Harris, Tery, and Joseph W. Hopkins
  • 2001. Phase II Archeological Testing of Sites 18CA203 and 18CA205 in the Proposed Route 404 Improvement Right of Way, Denton, Caroline County, Maryland. SHA Archeological Report No. 212.

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