2024 Tyler Bastian Field Session

Oldtown I (18AG9)
31 May - 10 June, 2024

The 2024 Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland Archeology will be held at the Oldtown I archeological site (18AG9), near Oldtown, Maryland, from 31 May - 10 June, 2024.

The Field Session will follow-up on both a geophysical remote sensing survey directed by the MHT Office of Archaeology in November of 2020 (which identified several anomalies of interest), and brief ground-truthing excavations conducted in October of 2023. The 2023 excavations revealed the presence of remarkably intact domestic features with an approximate date range of 1750-1790 suggesting that they relate to the 18th-century fort and dwelling of Colonel Thomas Cresap (a.k.a. the “Maryland Monster”).

Thomas Cresap is one of the most important frontiersmen in Maryland and American history. He played a major role in land speculation, both at the northern and western boundaries of Maryland. He played a role, along with the Delaware Indian, Nemacolin, in blazing a setler’s road across the Alleghany Mountains west to the Ohio Valley. He was heavily involved in the fur trade and sometime friend and sometime foe of the Native American inhabitants of western Maryland and the Ohio Valley. He played host at his home in Oldtown to General Edward Braddock, George Washington, and other important dignitaries from the three English colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as from numerous Indian Nations. His home was a refuge for colonists fleeing attacks during both the French and Indian War and Pontiac’s War that followed. And he was an early opponent of British policy in the west, opposition to which would eventually play a role in the American Revolution (in which his son, Michael Cresap would play a major role).

Site 18AG9 appears to be his dwelling based on both archival evidence and the dating of the artifacts recently recovered. While prior research in 2009/2010 helped to identify 18AG9 as the leading candidate site for Cresap’s fortified home, the present project is the first to document intact archaeological features suggestive of structures domestic in nature. The overall goals of the project are:

  • Obtain data sufficient to support a determination of eligibility and likely an individual nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for 18AG9,
  • Make management recommendations to C & O Canal National Historical Park regarding the identified resources, and
  • Obtain information that can be utilized by NPS for public interpretation of the resource

The Field Session is held in cooperation with the Maryland Historic Trust's Office of Archeology. The purpose of the Field Session is to introduce lay persons to archeological methods and to teach Maryland's past through hands-on involvement while making meaningful contributions to the study of Maryland archeology. MHT, Office of Archeology staff will provide professional oversight of volunteers at the site and will work to produce a final scientific report for the National Park Service.

In addition to the contributions of the ASM, funding for this project was provided in part by Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust.

- Field Session Lecture Schedule -

ASM has traditionally presented a number of lectures during the annual field session.

- Kid's Day, June 2nd , 10:00-12:00 -

For the second year, ASM will be conducting a special Kid's Day program at the Field Session. Kids, aged 6-13, will be offered activities to introduce various archeological concepts to Elementary and Middle School students. This is a great opportunity for them to learn about what happens on an archeological site, how artifiacts are discovered, processed and cataloged, and why we spend so much time digging square holes in the ground.

Participants should be registered in the "Youth" category. All participants must be accompanied by an adut who is authorized to complete the Liability Waiver. The adult may participate in regular Field Session activities while the Kid's Day program is under way if they are also registered as Field Session participants.

To sign up or if you have questions, contact Julia Berg at esarcheology@gmail.com

- Site and Equipment Information -

ASM reccomends that you bring your lunch, water and some other basis supplies. The 2024 What To Bring Guide will be e-mailed to all registrants and will be posted here prior to the start of the field session. It has directions to the site as well as a list of things to bring.

- Participant Lodging -

Participants may find that the distance to the site (approximately 2 1/2 hours from Baltimore) will necessitate use of local lodging. ASM has put together a Lodging Sheet with some local hotels, and a camping cabin option as well as an option for primative camping. We recommend reserving hotel rooms as soon as possible.

Tent camping will be available at nearby BSA Camp Potomac (a 5 minute drive from the site) will be available for those interested. For details, check out the Lodging Sheet, from the link above. Camping will be limited to 25 participants on any specific day. A $10 fee is required to reserve a spot at the campground. To reserve a camping spot, contact John Fiveash at jsfiveash@marylandarcheology.org or 443-618-2064 (leave a message during work hours).

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Field Session Registration

On-Line Registration

On-line registration is recommended. This will aid field session planners in creation of attendance lists used to determine what work will be performed on specific dates. We will use the E-Mail address provided in your registration to notify you of any changes in field Session plans.

Use the link, below, to fill out a Field Session Registration form for participation in the 2024 Field Session.

On-Line Registration Form

Following submission of your registration, please use the on-line fee payment system, below.

ASM, Inc. offers reduced and waived fees. ASM acknowledges that challenges arise financially for a variety of reasons and want all interested to be able to participate. Please reach out to Valerie.Hall@marylandarcheology.org to make arrangements.

2024 Field Session Fee Payment

Mailed Registration

Use the link, below, to obtain a PDF version of the registration form that can be mailed in.

Mail-in Registration Form

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