The 2019 Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland
Archeology will be held at the Billingsley Site (18PR9) from 24 May through 3 June, 2019.
The Billingsley archeological site has been known
to collectors since at least the 1930s as a good place to find prehistoric artifacts. Yet the site has received
little in the way of professional archeological attention. The site is the core of a 700 acre tract that was
patented to Major John Billingsley in 1662, “for transportation of 14 servants in the year 1650 under…
conditions of plantation”. The land on which Billingsley established his plantation is captioned with the
village names “Wighkamameck” and “Coppagan” on the Augustine Herrman map of 1670. In addition, the Proceedings
of the Maryland Assembly on May 23rd, 1674, make it clear that Billingsley purchased his 700 acres from the
“Mattapany and Patuxon Indians”, at least some of whom, “…doe Continue upon the Land.” As the
last known home of the Patuxent Indians, this site may contain important information regarding the early
contact between Native Americans and European colonists, and the effects of that contact on both groups.
A recent magnetic susceptibility survey was conducted
at the Billingsley site. Magnetic susceptibility is a remote sensing technique that detects the ability of the
soil to become magnetized, which can be significantly enhanced by many human activities including burning,
digging, the introduction of organic matter, and the introduction of foreign stone or other raw materials.
Magnetic susceptibility of surface soils was measured at a 5-meter interval throughout the 5.1 acre (2 hectare)
survey area. The specific survey area was selected based on MHT Site File data which placed the focus of two
artifact collectors’ activities in fields to the south of the standing Billingsley manor house. The survey team
was able to successfully identify a roughly 1.3 acre area of enhanced magnetic susceptibility within the nearly
150 acre site boundary polygon recorded in MHT Site Files. This area likely represents numerous hearths and other
features created by past human activity at what was likely the core of a prehistoric village or base camp.
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. Matt McKnight and Stephanie Sperling will serve, as the
Principal Investigators and will work with MHT, Office of Archeology staff who will provide professional
oversight of volunteers at the site.
Field Session Lecture Schedule
ASM has traditionally presented a number of lectures during the annual field session.
A schedule of lectures will be posted here as soon as it is available.
- 30 May 2019/6 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Spencer O. Geasey Memorial Lecture
The Spencer O. Geasey Memorial Lecture
The 2019 Spencer O. Geasey Memorial Lecture will be held on Thursday evening May 30th
from 6pm-8pm. Stephanie Sperling will provide an archeological overview of the Patuxent River's Jug
Bay area from the comfort of a pontoon boat. The boat will launch from Mount Calvert Historical and
Archaeological Park and as the capacity of the boat may be exceeded by the number of interested
attendees, Dr. Kristin Montaperto will be on land to provide a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mount
Calvert grounds and museum exhibits.
Register to attend the event.