54th Annual Spring Symposium on Archeology

Presented by the

Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc.,

Saturday, April 27, 2013, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
People's Resource Center
Maryland Historical trust
100 Community Place
Crownsville, MD 21032

2019 Spring Symposium

8:30 AM: Registration - Admission - $5 ASM Members, $7 Non-Members

9:00 AM: Welcome and Introductions

9:15 AM: Creamware, Crack, and a Wall of Spite: Salvage Excavations at the Sellers Mansion, Baltimore, presented by Adam Fracchia

In the summer and fall of 2018, salvage excavations were conducted in advance of proposed renovations to the three-story Sellers Mansion at 801 North Arlington Avenue in West Baltimore. Excavations in the yard area documented architectural features and material culture associated with the occupation of the house starting in late 1860s and confirm the eccentric narrative linked to the history of the property and its owners. Archeological testing also uncovered evidence of an earlier occupation of the site as well as more current and clandestine uses of this vacant lot. Taken together, the archeological record presents a unique picture of the evolution of a neighborhood in West Baltimore and the City of Baltimore.

9:50 AM: Using Low-Visibility Underwater Archeology in an Effort to Account for our Missing, presented by Carolin McManus

The Institute of Maritime History (IMH) maps and reports submerged anomalies in Maryland waters and beyond. IMH’s previous work on submerged aircraft drew the attention of the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), whose mission is “to provide the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel to their families and the nation.” At DPAA’s request and under the direction of archeologist Stefan Claesson, a team of IMH divers traveled to Germany in November 2018 to conduct reconnaissance on a submerged B-17 bomber and provide any data available to assist in locating two MIA airmen shot down in 1945. This presentation will recount the preparation for this mission, the remarkable cultural interaction experienced and what was accomplished through complementary skills and teamwork.

10:40 AM: A Brief History of Prehistoric Archeology in the Middle Atlantic Region, presented by Dennis Curry

Prehistoric archeology in the Middle Atlantic region has now entered its second century of study. This presentation will look at this history from a historical perspective. Some of the subjects considered include the influence of individual personalities and institutions, the changing motivations for undertaking archeological investigations, and trends in the foci of archeological research. Particular attention is paid to the role of the Middle Atlantic Archeological Conference over the course of its almost 50 years. The very concept of a “Middle Atlantic culture area” is considered. And lastly, some thoughts on the future of Middle Atlantic archeology are offered.

The 2019 Richard E. Stearns Memorial Lecture

The Richard E. Stearns Memorial Lecture is named in honor of Richard E. Stearns (1902-1969), curator of the Department of Archeology at the Natural History Society of Maryland for more than 30 years. Mr. Stearns located numerous archeological sites in the Chesapeake area, and carefully documented his surface and excavated finds. He published numerous archeological articles and several monographs, and donated his collection to the Smithsonian Institution. A commercial artist by profession, he was nonetheless a pioneer in Maryland archeology, instrumental in recording much of Maryland prehistory.

11:15 AM: Making a Future for the Past, presented by Bernard Means

While the public might associate archeology with the use of shovels and a certain whip-carrying, fedora-wearing adventurer, archeologists are increasingly reliant on technological tools and approaches drawn from the hard sciences. Some tools are tried and true, such as radiocarbon dating, while others are newer but used in more frequency, such as 3-D scanning and drone mapping. This presentation will examine the history of these tools and also explore ways that K-12 schools and the general public can interact with the past via 3-D printing.

The ASM Student Spotlight

1:00 PM: Ceramics, Lithics, Oysters and Beads: Investigating Political Complexity in the Rappahannock Indigenous Borderland, presented by Matt Borden

This paper attempts to trace the development of political complexity among Native communities in the Rappahannock River valley. Scholars including Martin Gallivan have created a compelling model of social and political development of Native groups along the James River, while less prominent regions such as the Rappahannock River have remained understudied. The Rappahannock Indigenous Borderlands Project addresses this imbalance and provides new data for analysis about these less studied native groups. This paper analyzes data generated by this ongoing project to gain insight into the local groups’ political and social structure. To that end, population, resource control, and exchange are examined through an analysis of the distributions of ceramics, prestige goods, oysters and exotic lithics, both within and among sites.

1:45 PM: The Middle Atlantic Culture Area Concept, presented by Heather A. Wholey

The Middle Atlantic is a relatively spatially compressed, yet highly diverse region whose archeology has defied simple definition and has been challenging to distinguish as a research unit. Unlike other North American culture areas, it is characterized by a great deal of heterogeneity. Due to the ecological and cultural mosaic that depicts the Middle Atlantic region, archeologists tend to focus their work within specific river drainages, within a certain physiographic province, on a particular culture group or around a specialized research problem. It can thus be challenging to see the unity in Middle Atlantic archeology or to see the Middle Atlantic as a cohesive culture area. This talk will cover some of the historical background on the development of the Middle Atlantic culture area concept and discuss arguments surrounding the Middle Atlantic region as a research entity.

The 2019 Iris McGillivray Memorial Lecture

Iris McGillivray was a founding member of the Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc., ably serving the Society for over 30 years as secretary, president, newsletter editor, field session registrar and membership secretary. She is perhaps best known and respected for her organization of the annual Spring Symposium, first held in 1965, arranging all aspects of the day-long program. In 1991 Iris was presented with the Society's William B. Marye Award to honor her services to archeology in Maryland.

2:30 PM: Cultural Complexity in the Middle Atlantic: A Case for The Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark , presented by Gregory D. Lattanzi, Ph.D.

No other archeological site in the Middle Atlantic region, or possibly the Northeast, has had more ink spilled about it than the Abbott Farm National Historic Landmark. Beginning in the mid-19th Century with Charles Conrad Abbott, countless scholars, students and of course cultural resource management archeologists have excavated, studied and written about this site. In the mid-20th Century, this site along with a handful of buried and stratified site complexes were used as a basis for reconstructing prehistoric lifeways and establishing cultural historical chronologies in the region. Archeologists have used this site to explain and mark the Middle Atlantic as having exhibited cultural complexity. This presentation will, like others before it, lay out the argument for there being a certain level of cultural complexity in this region. However, based on the many additional years of excavation and analysis, this argument can now stand on a firm and solid foundation.

DIRECTIONS: Follow Maryland Route 178 (Generals Highway) towards Crownsville. At the light turn onto Crownsville Road, then make an immediate right onto Fairfield Loop Road. Take the first left, and bear right toward the People's Resource Center and the MHT parking lot.