2019 Tyler Bastian Field Session

Billingsley (18PR9)
24 May - 3 June, 2019

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.

Field Session Registration

Registration for the 2019 Field Session has closed. However, You can still participate by registering on-site.

Use the link, below, to get our "What-to-Bring" list which has comprehensive Field Session information, including recommended equipment, a daily schedule and directions to the site.

2019 Field Session What-to-Bring