Site 18AN1127 is a Middle and Late Woodland base camp and shell midden located near Woolchurch Cove on the Severn River in Ann Arundel County.  The site lies within North Severn Complex of the United States Naval Station Annapolis, and occupies the blufftops on either side of Beach Road at the riverfront.

Archaeological Investigations

The site was recorded in November of 1998 by John Milner Associates during a Phase I archaeological survey for an integrated cultural resource management plan of the Naval Station.  Initial investigations revealed the presence of an oystershell midden.  Shovel testing of this area at 15 meter intervals produced abundant oystershells but no diagnostic artifacts.  Additional shovel tests were placed within areas of shell density, and late Woodland ceramics were documented.  A 1x1 meter test unit was placed in an area that yielded pottery remains, producing five distinct late Woodland wares and providing details on the vertical stratigraphy and extent of the midden.  Recovered ceramic types point to a date of A.D. 1300-1640 for the midden.  Other artifacts found within the midden include a tested quartz pebble, mammalian long bone, and lithic remains (jasper, chert or chalcedony, and siltstone or argillite).

The Louis Berger Group, Inc. carried out a Phase II archaeological investigation of Site 18AN1127 in 2013.  The investigation was conducted as part of compliance efforts for Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended.   Berger’s investigations at Site 18AN1127 included the excavation of shovel tests and test units. The site was found to have Middle Woodland and Late Woodland period occupations, and to have good stratigraphic integrity.  The Phase II investigation of Site 18AN1127 included the excavation of 12 close-interval (5-meter grid) shovel tests to delimit the site area, followed by the excavation of 11 dispersed test units within the site boundary.  Excavations confirmed that the midden deposit closely follows the western edge of the landform.  Artifacts at the site are found almost exclusively in the shell midden context, and the limits of the shell midden are coterminous with the site boundary.  The stratigraphy of the site consists of a shell midden matrix (A-horizon) above subsoil. In some instances the shell midden was covered by approximately 8 centimeters of humus (Ao-horizon), and in other instances the shell midden was found at the top of the soil column. The shell midden matrix was dark brown silt loam, typically approximately 15 centimeters thick. Underlying the A-horizon was subsoil, described as dark yellowish brown silt loam.  Exclusive of oyster shell, a total of 164 prehistoric artifacts were recovered from the Phase II testing. The artifacts include 141 pieces of prehistoric ceramic, 18 lithic artifacts, and floral and faunal remains (n=4). 95.2 kilograms of oyster shell was collected from the excavations and discarded in the field.

In addition to the prehistoric artifacts, a small number of historic artifacts were recovered from the site. The historic assemblage includes: a pipe bowl fragment, a cut nail, 2 nails of unidentified type, 2 colorless glass fragments (bottle or jar), and a 7-millimeter cartridge casing.

Louis Berger recommends that Site 18AN1127 be determined eligible for listing in the NRHP under Criterion D. The site contains significant information on local prehistory and has substantial integrity. Erosion has compromised some of the deposits at Site 18AN1127, and it is recommended that NSA Annapolis take steps to stabilize and protect the archaeological site.

Archeobotanical Studies

Berger’s Phase II investigations included the collection, processing and analysis of five flotation samples from the Late Woodland shell midden (Feature 1).  Samples were secured from five excavation units (1, 3, 5, 8, and 11).  A total of 10.75 liters of feature fill was flotation-processed using a Flote-tech water flotation machine.

Flotation produced 0.51 grams of carbonized plant macro-remains.  Recovered plant remains included wood charcoal, nutshell, fungi, a peduncle, and rindlike material.  The remains of cultivated plants were conspicuously absent from the assemblage.

Wood charcoal dominated the assemblage, with 67 fragments (> or = to 2mm) recovered.  The majority of the assemblage was classifiable as “deciduous taxa”, black locust and hickory woods were also identified.  Nut remains included five fragments of thick-walled hickory nutshells.  Eight fragments of fungal fruit, a peduncle and seven pieces of thin, rindlike material were also recovered.

Evidence of extensive bioturbation within the shell midden is provided by an abundance of modern roots, the presence of modern seeds and leaf litter and the remains of animals (snails and insects).  Based on this evidence, it is likely that there has been signification introduction of surface material and mixing of minute archeobotanical remains within the midden.


Katz, Gregory

2014 Phase I and II Investigation of Seven Sites at Naval Support Activity Annapolis Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  Prepared for:  Department of the Navy Facilities Engineering Command Washington Navy Yard,  Washington, D.C.  MHT# pending.
McKnight, Justine
Report on the Analysis of Flotation-recovered Archeobotanical Remains from Site 18AN1127, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.   Report submitted to the Louis Berger Group.  Washington D.C.  MHT# pending.

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