Mount Clare Mansion (18BC10) was built by barrister Charles Carroll in the 1760s on his 2,368 acre property along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River in Baltimore County.  Archaeological resources on the property consist of an Early and Middle Woodland period shell midden and the 18th-century estate with brick mansion, gardens, and orchards.

Archaeological Investigations

In the late 1960s and 1970, the National Society of the Colonial Dames (NSCD) in Maryland and the Archeological Society of Maryland (ASM) investigated the entrance to a brick-vaulted tunnel leading from the southeast corner of the basement of Mount Clare Mansion, and in 1971, the Maryland Geological Survey investigated a cylindrical pit which was identified as a sump.  Between 1977 and 1980, two projects were carried out to locate features relating to various wings of the mansion.  In 1984, the Baltimore Center for Urban Archaeology initiated a long-term research program at Mount Clare aimed at restoring that portion of the estate within Carroll Park to its 1770s condition.  These investigations included a 1984 shovel test survey, additional 1986 excavations on an office wing, reconstruction of a forecourt, excavations at the site of an orangery in 1984 and 1989, and investigations at the orchard (1985), kitchen (1986), and terraces (1985-1989).  Several overviews have been published, as well as specific analysis reports (floral and faunal), historical gardening and landscaping studies, and interpretation reports.

 Based on documentary research, the architectural historians had concluded that the kitchen, originally measuring 20’x24', may have been one of the earliest existing structures on the plantation, and possibly dated to Carroll's ownership.  According to this research, by 1768 the kitchen measured 22’x50' with a semi-octagonal end, and the office wing to the west was its mirror image.  Additions measuring 8' wide and 28' long had been added to both wings by 1790, according to that year's tax record.

In 1986, Phase III excavations and floral and faunal analyses answered many remaining questions about the kitchen.  Features exposed included a portion of the east hyphen’s stone north wall foundation, the outline of the kitchen's exterior walls, a brick floor, and a complex of features in the center of the kitchen, mostly associated with cooking.

Archeobotanical Studies

Ten flotation samples were analyzed from feature contexts associated with the kitchen outbuilding.  Samples were secured from ash pits, a shell-filled builders’ trench, postmolds and holes, a hearth, and a cobble area.  Floral artifacts were recovered from 9 of the 10 samples analyzed.  Analysis was limited to seed remains, which were largely non-carbonized.  Forty-one plant species were identified in the kitchen flotation samples, with a variety of garden crops, orchard products, kitchen herbs, and ruderal weedy plants represented.  A list of recovered taxa includes kale, millet, thyme, turnip, dyers woad, pike, vervain, mulberry, horehound, grape, lemon balm, flax, buckwheat, basil, spinach, mint, parsley, cauliflower, radish, yarrow, St. Johnswort, hemp, solomon’s seal, and sage.  A site total of 770 seeds were recovered.

 An efficiency test of the flotation machine and procedures was conducted using the standard Poppyseed Test (Wagner 1982).  Recovery rates averaged 79%.  Flotation samples were analyzed by Cheryl A. Holt. 


Holt, Cheryl A.
1995 Floral and Faunal Analysis Report. Appendix B to Mount Clare's Kitchen: 1986 Archaeological Research at Carroll Park (18BC10K). MHT # BC 105.
Logan, George C. and John L. Seidel
1995 Mount Clare's Kitchen: 1986 Archaeological Research at Carroll Park (18BC10K). MHT # BC 105.
Wagner, Gail E.
1982 Testing Flotation Recovery Rates. American Antiquity 47(1):127-132.


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