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2007 Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland Archeology


Claggett Retreat Site (18FR25), Frederick County
May 18 - 28, 2007


Commentary on the field session or about the selected photos would be greatly appreciated.
Contact John Fiveash if you have input for this page.

The 2007 Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland Archeology was held at the Claggett Retreat Site (18FR25) in Frederick County. Many regular participants were left wondering if an excavation would get started as negotiations with the land owner proceeded into Spring. In April an agreement was finally reached and preparations began in earnest to excavate from May 18 through Memorial Day. The session had its ups and downs, hours of boredom and discoveries of note. Overall, progress was made in gaining knowledge to characterize the occupants of the site and tantalizing hints of still hidden features appeared, keeping interest in further work alive.

T-Shirt Design for the 2007 Field Session

Clagget SIte with Bishop CLagget Retreat Center in the background.

Initial units seen on the second day of excavation.
The site lies in a corn field, overlooked by the Bishop Claggett Retreat Center and a nearby housing development. Work began in an area that MHT staff and our PI, Joe Dent, had surveyed earlier and found to have indications of occupation.
Charlie Hall, Alex McPhail and Dick Brock working on STPs.
Anton Steur, Nathanial GOrdon and George Evans screening.
Among the first jobs was to dig additional shovel test pits to try and determine the extent of the site.

Meanwhile, Digging and screening continued in the area "known" to be near the center of the site.

Alex and Antonella bring Calvin Swomley, center, to the site.
Charlie, Antonella and Dennis feverishly copy Calvin's old map.
Antonella Bassani asked if Calvin Swomley, who originally excavated the area had been consulted. Finding that no one had been able to successfully contact him, Antonella went into town, knocked on some doors and brought him to the site. His first comment - "You are digging in the wrong spot!"
Calvin kindly provided a map of the features that he had dug in the 1960s, which was rapidly copied and used to reposition the entire Field Session operation. A new grid was laid in that afternoon and we were able to move the focus of excavation to the new area by the next day.
Panorama view of the excavation area. Each person in this photo is standing on the location of one of the 28 features
that were excavated by Calvin Swomley in the 1960's.
Alex and Antonella peer at Calvin's collection.
Fragments of pot from the Claggett Site.
Antonella managed to convince Calvin to show us the collection of artifacts that he recovered from the site.
Portions of a large pot that were recovered during the 1960's.
Doug Housley, Kathy Steur and Tyler Bastian Screen
Field Lab with new sign.
Work began in the new area and the search for indications of occupation was renewed.
Field Lab equipped with brand new ASM banner sign.
Elaine and Barry work a screen.
Joe Dent answers Alex's questions about placement of the datum point.
Elaine Hall and Barry Phelps work together to screen some of the stubborn soil found in these units.
The transit became a busy place as a new datum point was installed and a new baseline was established. Eventually the location of all units dug by Calvin were located in the field.
Roy Brown was the fist of four speakers at our lunchtime lecture series. His topic was "Bone Tools". Roy's talk highlighted both the range of uses of bone tools and the detailed work needed to produce them.
Dan Wagner deep into our dirt.
Jeff looks on as Dan checks the soil profile.
Dan Wagner, soils scientist, came out to evaluate the site. He provided detailed characterization of the area and explained the process of his evaluation to the massed crowd.
Jeff Jensen watches while Dan goes through his evaluation of soil up to 1.5 meters deep.
Howard McCord visits the site.
Screen,s ever hungry for more dirt.
Howard McCord, former Virginia State Archeologist and long-time friend of ASM, visits the site.
As afternoon looms, the screens begin calling again.
Visitors from MHT take in the site's sights.
Myron lectures about the Popham Site.
Maureen and Charlie explain the significance of our work to supervisors and other visitors from MHT.
Myron Beckstien lectures about the Popham Site in Maine. Nearly a twin of Jamestown, it misses out on all the headlines.
Benton, Andy and Myron open a new unit.
Carol, Carol and Nancy in the field lab.
Benton and Myron work with Andy Stout (center), Regional Director of the Archaeological Conservancy, to begin work on a new unit. Carol Ebright, Carol Cowherd and Nancy Geasey work to process artifacts in the field lab.
Hal and Heather clean up.
Charlie with TV Crew.
Hal Bailie, Joe's field assistant, and Heather Schramm work on cleaning up the floor of an excavated unit. Charlie takes on a visiting TV crew.
Carol provide information about local lithic resources.
A trench was dug to attempt to find house pattern features.
Carol Ebright covers the range of lithic material likely to be found on the site while Lenore and Levi look on. As time began to run short, 1 meter wide trenches were dug to search for house pattern features.
Tantalizing features were showing up in one of the 4X4 units. Any number of spectators could be found hanging in the shade, proffering explanations of the uncovered features.
Nancy's cabin provided the ambiance for the 2007 Social Night. Charlie, grillmeister extrordanaire.
Hungry archeologists, and someone who faintly resembles Barry (right), gather for the annual Social Night. Charlie Hall once again served as Grillmeister for the event.
Participants chow down.
The Annual Social is oftentimes the venue for part of the Field Session Lecture Series. This year we initiated a new lecture, led by Tyler Bastian, dedicated to the memory of Spencer O. Geasey. Spencer graced us with his presence at a multitude of ASM events over the years. His in-depth knowledge of Maryland Archeology, combined with a ever-present desire to share that knowledge and experience, was well known among the Maryland Archeology Community.
Nobody was allowed to leave hungry!!! Spencer Geasey during a presentation about his archeological experiences at the 2004 Symposium in Archeology.
Rebecca works on her troweling technique.
Barry cleans out a trench.
Everyone gets to learn new skills. Rebecca tries her hand at troweling one of the open units.
The trenches were cleaned up so we could look for possible patterns in the subsoil.
Tyler breaks out a hoe and goes to work troweling the trench. Everyone gets involved cleaning up the floor of anther unit.
Merideth and Rob troweling.
Working on a trench feature.
Merideth and Rob learn troweling the hard way - on the fly. Joshua and Rebecca work on a feature in the trench.
Finishing lab work.
Finishing feature work.
Final field lab work was finished and dry artifacts were packed for shipping to American University. Carol, from the youth hostel in Knoxville, works with Kathy to finish up work on a feature.

Field Session participants take time out near the end of the dig for a group photo.


Thanks - The Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Historic Trust would like to thank Board of Directors and Staff of the Bishop Claggett Retreat Center. Without their granting access to the site and permitting us to use their parking areas, this Filed Session would not have happened.