55th Annual Spring Symposium on Archeology

Presented by the

Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc.,

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM

On-Line via Zoom

9:15 a.m.

Caulkers’ Houses in Fell’s Point.

presented by: Lisa Kraus and Jason Stellenhamer

In the spring of 2019, the Herring Run Archaeology Project conducted excavations at the Caulkers’ Houses in Fell’s Point on behalf of the Society for the Preservation of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point. The wooden buildings at 612 and 614 S. Wolfe Street had been the homes of various families of free African-American ship caulkers during the first half of the 19th Century, as well as tailors, laundresses, shopkeepers and oyster shuckers. The houses represent a unique history of both African-American and white working-class history in 19th-Century Baltimore, and the archeology reveals details of 200 years of life at the household level in Fell's Point.

Lisa Kraus, co-director of the Herring Run Archaeology Project, holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and historical archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin and completed her dissertation on the Bruin Slave Jail in Alexandria, the site of one of America’s most notorious slave traders in the years preceding the Civil War. Lisa is an archeologist with the Maryland Environmental Service & Maryland State Highway Administration.

Jason Shellenhamer, also a co-director of the Herring Run Archaeology Project, completed his Master’s of Applied Anthropology at the University of Maryland in 2004, where he studied the archaeology of William Paca’s garden in Annapolis. Presently, Jason is the principal senior archaeologist at Richard Grubb & Associates.

9:55 a.m.

Student Spotlight

Comparing Caribbean plantation landscapes and Chesapeake plantations in their setup and use of space.

presented by: Rebecca Davis

The analysis of plantation landscapes offers the opportunity to understand the landscape's development and function for both its enslaved and Euro-American inhabitants. More importantly, it provides a way to assess the drivers behind each population's developing narrative through the creation of a functional "space" and the cultivation of an ideological "place" within their domains. These domains occupied the same area but were, in many respects, separate entities. The Euro-American colonial experience is well documented both historically and archeologically, often presenting a clear understanding of various motivations for creating the plantation landscape. However, the historical and archeological records also reveal ingenuity, adaptation, and survival strategies of enslaved individuals trapped in those plantation landscapes. This presentation will discuss ideological elements of plantation landscapes present in pre-revolutionary Haiti, their physical manifestations and how both the enslaved and Euro-American inhabitants would have walked through and manipulated their "space," while creating a sense of "place."

Rebecca is a historical archeology PhD student at UC Santa Cruz working on plantation landscapes in the former French colony of Saint Domingue, present day Haiti, and more recently in the Chesapeake. Rebecca received her bachelor's degree in history from a small liberal arts college in upstate NY. After a month-long trek through Egypt and Greece, and looking for more adventure, Rebecca pursued a graduate degree in archaeology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England. She then began her PhD research on Saint Domingue at the University of Bristol, England. While studying at Bristol, Rebecca became aware of work being conducted in Haiti at the UC Santa Cruz and decided to complete her degree there.

10:35 a.m.

The Iris McGillivray Memorial Lecture

Iris McGillivray was a founding member of the Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc., ably serving the Society for over thirty years as Secretary, President, Newsletter Editor, Field Session Registrar, and Membership Secretary. She is perhaps best known, loved, 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.


Some St. Mary’s City Research.

presented by: Henry M. Miller

This talk will present a sampling of some recent research at St. Mary’s City. It includes new interpretations of certain artifacts from the St. John’s site (windows and a unique lead seal), a child’s footprint and the clues to vanished pathways, and also the remarkable return of what are probably the most widely traveled Maryland artifacts in history. Finally, a brief progress report is given on efforts to determine the origin and date of the only surviving interior furnishing from the Brick Chapel of the 1660s, a wooden tabernacle.

Henry M. Miller is the Maryland Heritage Scholar for Historic St. Mary’s City. Miller has worked in Maryland since 1972 and directed dozens of excavation projects, surveys and analytic endeavors, served as co-director of Project Lead Coffins and led the reconstruction and exhibition efforts for a number of 17th-Century buildings, including the Brick Chapel of the 1660s. Miller was the 2020 recipient of the J. C. Harrington medal from the Society for Historical Archaeology for lifetime contributions to the field.

11:20 a.m.

The 2013 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.


Meadowcroft Rockshelter: Retrospect 2021

presented by: James M. Adovasio

Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a deeply stratified, multi-component site located about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the north bank of Cross Creek, a small tributary of the Ohio River, 7.6 miles to the west. Field work began in 1973 and continued every year until 1978. Additional excavations were conducted in 1983, 1985, 1993-1994, 2003, and most recently, in 2007.

The 11 natural strata at Meadowcroft represent the longest occupational sequence in the New World. The site yielded a remarkable corpus of artifactual, floral and faunal data firmly anchored by some 52 stratigraphically consistent radiocarbon dates spanning more than 15 millennia of autumn-focused, shortterm visits. The site’s earliest occupants are ascribable to the Miller complex.

The dating of the Miller complex is problematic. If the six deepest dates unequivocally associated with cultural materials are averaged, the Miller complex is present at this site and in the contiguous Cross Creek drainage between ca. 12,605 BCE and 12,005 BCE.

The inventory of flaked-stone artifacts from lower and middle Stratum IIa at Meadowcroft contains small prismatic blades that were detached from small, prepared cores. In 1976, a small, lanceolate biface, subsequently called the Miller Lanceolate projectile point, was found in situ on the uppermost living floor of lower Stratum IIa at Meadowcroft.

James. M. Adovasio, Ph.D., D.Sc. achieved world acclaim in the 1970s with his excavation of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, widely recognized as one of the earliest well-dated archeological sites in North America, with evidence of human habitation dating to ca. 16,000 years ago. Perhaps, more importantly, Meadowcroft is considered to be one of the most meticulous excavations ever conducted, anywhere. During his career, he has specialized in the analysis of perishable materials (basketry, textiles, cordage, etc.) and the application of high-tech methods in archeological research. In recent years, his research has confronted another of archeology’s mysteries by delving underwater to seek submerged evidence of early Americans off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, he was the principal investigator of the re-excavation at the Old Vero Man Site in Florida. This Late Ice Age locality has figured prominently in the history of American anthropology and promises to yield new insights into the behavior of the First Floridians. He is the author of more than 500 books, book chapters, monographs, articles and papers which include “The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Pre-History,” “The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology’s Greatest Mystery,” and “Basketry Technology” and most recently “Strangers in a New Land.”

Adovasio received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Utah. He is formerly the director of archeology at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, and currently director of archeology at Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Online Platform Information:

Zoom URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85283522198?pwd=Vi9Ob2JUMk9lRnVDTXdtb0NRSEZrdz09

  • Meeting ID: 852 8352 2198
  • Passcode: 711084
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  • Meeting ID: 852 8352 2198
  • Passcode: 711084