Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We had a great day in the field today. We opened up two more units, and found traces of the whole history of the Magruder house from the present all the way to Native American settlement! (see below) Now we would like some of our crew to introduce themselves and write about their experiences.
Bio: My name is Vincent Shirbach, I am an archaeologist out of Gaithersburg, MD. I have a bachelor’s in History with a concentration in archaeology from Hood College in Frederick, MD. I plan on obtaining a master’s in Cultural Anthropology from one of multiple great institutions in the DC area.
“We have officially begun excavation of the Magruder House property located on Annapolis Road in Bladensburg! This project is part of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a highly publicized, historic event. I am excited to be part of this archaeological evaluation because it is rare that we have the chance to get back to the theoretical side of the science. We of course did not create the history that is here, but we are certainly responsible for developing its documentation and accuracy.
The house itself has its roots in the 18th century, and has maintained importance in the War of 1812 and the Civil War. George Washington even stopped by for a visit way back when! As such, we are looking for a chronological variety of artifacts, but for our purposes here, we are hoping to find war relics. American troops used this house as a hospital, so we are searching for evidence like buttons, equipment, medical supplies, etc. So far, one unidentified button has been recovered close to the house. I’m hoping we’ll be able to uncover a plethora once most of the test units are put in. So far we’ve just begun, who knows what we’ll find out here!!!”

Bio: My name is Michael Roller. I am a graduate student at the University of Maryland, Department of Anthropology. I am working for the State Highway Administration as a Crew Chief and to help organize the public outreach for this project. It has already been alot of fun. I am a resident of nearby Riverdale Park and have enjoyed biking to work along the peaceful Anacostia every morning.

"Today we found artifacts from many era's of Bladensburg's past. At this stage of excavation historic soils are really mixed up. While looking through the soil I have seen ceramics and glass from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. We have found wine bottle fragments from the 18th century, mason jar fragments from the 1950's, remodeling waste from the 1980's, plastic pen fragments from the 1990's. Less like a trip back in time, it is like history in a blender! But it is all exciting to me. Anyways, there are hints that as we get deeper into the soils, the materials we find may be more organized, less chaotic.
I was really excited to find this today (pictured). It is a chert or rhyolite flake from Native American toolmaking. The spot that the Magruder House sits on is perfect for indigenous habitation, with the proximity of the spring at the rear of the house, the plentiful resources of the Anacostia floodplain just beyond. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring!"



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  2. Nice hat Vincent!