Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 7 Press Day, New Features, Community Networking

Mike Roller: “Today was a great day for connecting to communities near and far. It started with press day. Television reporters from several local channels, including 4 and 9, came out and did interviews. A few stations had stories on the evening news. (if you happened to see a story give us a shout!) Julie gave a short talk and tour of the site. The rest of us acted as normal as we could in front of all the cameras. Working hard and making discoveries, as we do everyday… In fact, we found interesting features in several units today. A possible prehistoric feature in one area, and a possible historic feature in another area. We will know more about what they are tomorrow.

Carol Ebright, a specialist in Native American archaeology from the State Highway Administration came out and examined the potsherds we discovered yesterday. She thinks they are Accokeek grit-tempered sherds and may date to between 900 to 600 BC. (for more info on Accokeek: We like to say, "It wasn’t expected, but it is not surprising that this spot was occupied by Native Americans". Actually, a member of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe came out today to view the site and told us that oral history sources indicate dense Native American occupation up and down the Anacostia River, ending at the area around Bladensburg where the Northeast and Northwest Branches split. This is the spot where anadromous fish would swim up and mate, and Native Americans would set up their fishing weirs.

This evening we went to a community networking meeting in the Bladensburg Town Hall. We met mayor Walter James and council members Walter Ficklin and Charlina Watson . The purpose of the meeting was to inspire networking and dialogue between community organizations and businesses. Five of us came out to represent the State Highway Administration and the University of Maryland. We listened to, and spoke with, representatives from local businesses and business development groups, civic organizations, town services, religious organizations and youth training and empowerment groups. Some of these included the Bladensburg Local Development Corporation, Port Towns Community Development Corporation, the Bladensburg Rotary Club, the Bladensburg Police, the Bladensburg Library, the Maryland National Capital Area park and Planning Commission, the Pastoral Lay Council, Choices for Success and the Kiwanis club.

It was a very productive and interesting evening. As part of the public outreach portion of the project we are going to develop an educational curriculum and a traveling display and presentation. Several of the groups we met were interested in having a talk or a presentation given at a meeting. These included a youth organization called Choices for Success that gives youth after school support and study help, the Bladensburg Library, the MNCPPC summer playgrounds program and the Rotary Club.

If you represent an organization in the Bladensburg community and might be interested in having a short talk on our project, perhaps later in the summer please contact us at

Tomorrow, back to the archaeology. Only three more days left at the Magruder House. In June we will start work on the Market Master’s Square and House. I can't wait to see what comes out of those features tommorow!"

1 comment:

  1. Eileen Denney MarshMay 15, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    I cannot access your gmail address, which comes up NOT PROPERLY INSTALLED. My grandparents lived in the Magruder House from approximately 1917 to 1941. My father and several of his siblings were born there. My family is very interested in information about the site. Thank you. Eileen Denney Marsh