Rumney’s Tavern Cellar at London (18AN50) describes the archaeological remains of a large, early eighteenth century earthen cellar filled with drinking vessels, pottery, and food remains.  The cellar is located within the Londowntown Publik House and Gardens property, a park which encompasses the extensive archaeological remains of an historic settlement occupied during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Archaeological Investigations

Beginning in 1995, Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project has been excavating the area of London comprising Lots 86 and 87.  Research centered on the layout, landscape form and function and property ownership in the early town at London.   An extensive array of cultural features associated with domestic and commercial life during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have been excavated. 

The large cellar feature was excavated in bisection, revealing rich deposits of glassware, ceramics, comestibles and charcoal.  This artifactual evidence, paired with the archival documents, confirms that the cellar underlay Edward Rumney’s tavern which operated c. 1695-1735. 

Archeobotanical Studies

A full suite of archeobotanical studies was conducted on the cellar fill from Rumney’s Tavern.  Pollen, phytolith, and carbonized macro-remains (recovered through soil flotation and waterscreening) were systematically analyzed.

Pollen: (microdata are not currently available on the online searchable database" – see Posey 18CH281) Grace Brush (Johns Hopkins University) analyzed archaeological pollen from 11 samples secured from Rumney’s Tavern cellar.  Acacia, walnut, arrow head (Sagittaria), pigeweed, sedge, fern, pine, ash, sphagnum moss, cherry and bur weed were identified.  Pollen was not plentiful in any of the samples.

Phytolith:  Eleven phytolith samples were selected for analysis and submitted to Lisa Kealhofer (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation) for analysis.  Overall, phytolith count were low and inconclusive.

Macro-remains: Analysis of 20 flotation samples (279 liters) from the Rumney’s Tavern Cellar (Feature 100) produced 474.07 grams of carbonized plant macro-remains.  The flotation assemblage produced abundant wood charcoal (27,606 fragments weighing 290.07 grams), scant nutshells (four fragments), 27 carbonized seeds (all representing weedy species), field crops (wheat, beans, maize), and miscellaneous plant remains (amorphous carbon rind fragments, buds, fungi).  Uncarbonized seeds and a few unburned wood fibers were also recovered.

Twenty-six waterscreen recovered macro-botanical samples were also analyzed.   A total of 272.85 grams of carbonized plant material were recovered.  Wood charcoal was well-represented, with 35,069 fragments weighing 265.65 grams.  Nutshell remains were limited to a single fragment of acorn.  Carbonized seeds (nine) include weeds and grape.  Field crop remains total 37 (0.42 grams). Maize, beans, and wheat remains were documented.   Miscellaneous plant materials recovered through waterscreening included amorphous carbon, rind, buds, twigs, and fungi.  In addition to the carbonized plant remains, uncarbonized seeds were also present within the waterscreen-recovered assemblage.


Brush, Grace S.
1999 Pollen Analysis of Soil Samples from Rumney’s Tavern, Londontown, Maryland.  Report submitted to the Lost Towns of Anne Arundel Project.  January 6.
Kealhofer, Lisa
1999 Report on Phytolith Analysis, Rumney’s Tavern, London Town (18AN48).  Report submitted to the Lost Towns of Anne Arundel Project.  January 30.
McKnight, Justine W.
1998 Macro-botanical Report, Rumney’s Tavern Cellar, London (18AN48).  Report submitted to the Lost Towns of Anne Arundel Project.  April 16.

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