Koubek (18CA239)

The Koubek site (18CA239) in Caroline County, Maryland, contains evidence of human occupations spanning the Early Archaic through Late Woodland. An ossuary identified at the site is associated with the Late Woodland occupation, and a commercial cannery operated at Koubek from the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.

The Koubek Site (18CA239) exhibits intact foundation remains and artifact deposits associated with the historic cannery. Phase II archaeological investigations conducted at the site by Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, Inc. (RK&K) in 2009 identified two distinct activity areas, the main processing plant and the adjacent laborers housing/ancillary structures, are evident based on the types of foundation remains present and the classes of artifacts identified in each area. Domestic refuse encountered in the laborers area reflects an assortment of consumed foodstuffs, as well as tableware and crockery employed by the occupants, and provides a unique overview of the consumer patterns of the seasonal residents, a subject poorly understood in the study of cannery sites. Furthermore, Site 18CA239 contains discrete resources associated with Early Archaic through Late Woodland period Native American occupation in the location. The presence of an undisturbed ossuary offers a unique opportunity to expand our understanding of Native American burial practices in the Chesapeake Bay region. Evidence of on-site activities including lithic resource procurement and stone tool manufacture and maintenance, and food preparation provides detailed information not only of the specific activity areas within the site, but long-term trends in site use. This work determined that the Koubek Site possessed eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Phase III data recovery conducted over the summer of 2010 by RK&K was focused on the part of the Koubek site located entirely within the approved Right Of Way (ROW) design along the south edge of the Maryland Route 328 roadway and east edge of the marsh. The data recovery effort recorded 167 features, 119 of which were positively identified as of cultural origin. Excavations revealed that the Koubek Site was affected by plowing and late twentieth-century demolition activities. A variety of eighteenth- through mid-twentieth-century artifacts including machine cut and wire mails, sawn wood debris, bottle glass and ceramics as well as prehistoric artifacts document a history of disturbance to overlying soils.

The Koubek Site has been occupied by transient groups throughout the Early Archaic through Late Woodland periods, with intensive cobble quarrying and lithic reduction activities taking place during the Late Archaic and Late Woodland periods. The archaeological data suggest a possible connection between the lithic reduction activities and mortuary practices associated with the ossuary. A discrete nineteenth-century component provides possible evidence of a commercial fish house, and a number of post features, a crude cold storage feature, and late nineteenth- through mid-twentieth-century refuse deposits relate to the adjacent cannery.

(Edited from Maryland Archeobotany)


  • Emory, Scott A., and Dawn Cheshaek
  • 2011. Phase III Data Recovery Investigation of the Koubek site (18CA239), MD 328 Bridge over Tuckahoe Creek, Caroline County, Maryland SHA Archeological Report No. 423.
  • Emory, Scott, and Jennifer L. Marye
  • 2010. Phase I Archeological Survey for the Replacement of the MD 328 Bridge over Tuckahoe Creek, and Phase II Testing of 18CA239, Caroline and Talbot Counties, Maryland. SHA Archeological Report No. 399 .

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