Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guest Blogger: Paul Shackel, University of Maryland/ Star-Spangled Trail Project and Blog

Today we asked Dr. Paul Shackel, Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, and one of the many participants in the Bladensburg Archaeology Project, to post a comment. Here is his posting:

"This research project sponsored by the State Highways Administration (SHA) and the University of Maryland (UM) is a wonderful example of cooperation and professionalism among two very important organizations in the State of Maryland. I am struck by the dedication and enthusiasm the archaeologists have for sharing their knowledge of the recent and distant past with the local community. This project began with a joint presentation lead by community leader Dick Charlton and University of Maryland graduate student Michael Roller. The presentation occurred several weeks before the research project began.

Engagement in the community provides an avenue to discuss what the archaeologists are doing in their neighborhood. It also allows for the research team to hear about the community’s concerns and interests. SHA and UM team members have attended local town meetings, making contacts with residents who are more than willing to share their experiences, concerns, and dreams for their community.

While this summer’s weather has made us dig out our old umbrellas and rain gear, there is a lot more work to do, building bridges with the community and learning more about the towns that are near the university. Pooling resources and talent from two of the state’s premier institutions in the state has allowed for a more fruitful and beneficial experience for the community as well as the institutions involved. I applaud Julie Schablitsky, section chief for the cultural resource section, Maryland SHA, and the rest of the project members from UM and the SHA for their enthusiasm and making this project an overwhelming success."

Here is a picture of (from L to R) Paul Shackel, Julie Schablitsky and Cindy Chance taken on our Public Day.

We wanted to inform you about another project related to the Bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812. University of Maryland graduate student Kristin Sullivan is working on the Star-Spangled Trail project for the National Park Service. Her project is concerned with connecting the historic celebrations with living communities along the Trail, such as Bladensburg. She has set up some electronic resources such as a blog:,
and a Twitter page: She is actively looking for feedback, opinions, advice and suggestions from the Bladensburg community. Please feel free to contact Kristin through these sites.

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo! Thanks for the mention, Mike. One note about the ning site - it's not yet been rolled out officially, but you're all still welcome to join. Just, keep in mind that it will become something bigger in the next couple weeks, so keep checking in. Feedback and suggestions are always welome, though!

    I hope the rain doesn't get you guys too badly today!