Wessel Site (18CA21)
The Wessel Site (18CA21) is comprised of Archaic and
Woodland components, possibly representing base camp
or hamlet occupations. This site is situated near the
head of tidewater on a low sandy terrace on the east
bank of Tuckahoe Creek, in Caroline County, Maryland.
It is located within the boundaries of Tuckahoe State
Park. Prior to archaeological investigations, much of
the site had been destroyed by a sand and gravel pit
and to some extent by historic plowing. Portions of the
former farmland have been reforested.
In early 1970, staff members at the Maryland Geological
Survey (MGS), Division of Archaeology, were informed
of the location of the Wessel Site. For several years,
the site was collected by a former landowner and another
collector. The private collections included axe heads,
a bannerstone, projectile points and knives, and ceramics.
Archaeologists from MGS visited the site in late 1971.
At the time of the 1971 site visit, the location was
abandoned farm land, was partly reforested, and a portion
was used as a gravel pit/mine. Tuckahoe State Park, then
not open to the public, was under development. Plans for
the park included a recreation lake which would eventually
inundate the site. The site was also facing destruction
during the construction of a dam a short distance
In November 1971, staff from MGS and volunteers from the
Mid-Shore Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Maryland
conducted a 2 day investigation of the site. Unfortunately,
no report is available that details the 1971 study. A total
of 13 one-meter square units were excavated.
In the spring of 1974, the site was further excavated as part
of the Maryland Archaeological Field Session. Goals of the
investigation were to recover a larger data set to be used
for developing a local sequence of point and pottery types
and for determining the organization and settlement structure
of the camp/village. A total of 14 two-meter square test units
were excavated; all but two were dug to sterile levels before
being backfilled. Unfortunately, no report is available that
details the 1974 study.
In addition, the Tuckahoe State Park Archaeological Survey was
initiated by the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) subsequent
to the short excavations and investigations in 1971 and 1974
by MGS personnel. The work was to be conducted ahead of proposed
construction within the park. The Phase I investigations were
conducted in 1974 immediately following the Phase II investigations
of the Wessel Site (18CA21). That report briefly characterized
the landscape of the site and provided a short re-examination
of materials collected during the 1971 testing at the site.
Historical Trust Synthesis Project)