ASM's 2011 William B. Marye Award

James D. Sorenson



The William B. Marye award winner for 2011 is James Sorenson. Jim has a long connection with the history of Montgomery County, Maryland. As his ancestor, Col. Nivian Beall, commanded a troop of rangers to protect the County’s frontier during the 17th century, our recipient has spent his career in archaeology protecting the County’s rich cultural past.


James D. Sorensen entered the Ph.D. program at American University focusing his dissertation on the Riggs family plantation Oaks II of Montgomery County. There he confirmed archaeologically the presence of a traditional folk culture in the 19th century. During his early career Jim worked for the newly formed “Archaeology in Annapolis” directed by Dr. Mark Leone, an innovative program involving the public in the study of the city’s past.


Shortly after receiving his doctorate from American University, Jim became the first career archaeologist to work for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery County. His 23 years with the Commission involved the surveying, identifying and registering of sites to keep up with the Park’s and County’s growing development. Projects ranged from rockshelters and prehistoric quarries to French and Indian War taverns and Civil War encampments. As Park archaeologist Jim not only supervised the many duties required of that position but was an inspiring force to his staff and the many volunteers with whom he shared his enthusiasm for the region’s past.

Jim has been a strong supporter of ASM, serving on Society committees as well as being the a regular presenter of programs on a wide range of subjects concerning Montgomery County archaeology. He has conducted CAT Workshops for Historic Ceramic Identification and helped revitalized the former Southwestern Chapter into the viable and active Mid-Potomac Chapter of today.

The Archeological Society of Maryland is pleased to present the 2011 William B. Marye Award to James D. Sorensen.