The Bull’s Head Tavern site (18BC139) includes the foundations and backyard features of at least two 19th-century row houses, one late 18th- to early 20th-century tavern or hotel, and several 20th-century commercial wagon sheds, stables, and automobile servicing facilities.

Archaeological Investigations

Phase I, II, and III archival and archaeological studies within the Juvenile Justice Center construction area in Baltimore, Maryland were conducted between October 1996 and November 1999 by R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates, Inc. Nine historic sites were identified and investigated within the project area. Of these, four sites, including 18BC139, were assessed as National Register-eligible resources and were subjected to Phase III data recovery.

Removal of a 20th-century concrete slab overlying historic deposits at 18BC139 exposed intact underlying features and surfaces which were tested and investigated. The site was divided into organizational subdivisions, the “Tavern Lot North,” “Tavern Lot South,” and the “Row house Lot.” Mechanically-excavated trenches revealed intact stratigraphy and a variety of structural features, including cellars. A total of 26 features and intact surfaces were identified and recorded during Phase IB/II investigations. These cultural remains represented occupations ranging from the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. Seven test units were excavated which documented intact features and stratigraphy at the former Bull’s Head Tavern site, and the site was recommended for data recovery.

Phase III mitigation at 18BC139 was conducted between July and August 1998. The mitigation plan for the “Row House Lot” included mechanized stripping of a large sheet midden, and excavation of 10 test units to expose a variety of cultural features, including pit features, a cobble surface, and a 19th-century oval brick-lined privy. Phase III investigations within the “Tavern Lot South” required mechanical removal of additional overburden to delineate the dimensions and configuration of the stone foundation sections, followed by excavation of test units. A total of four features were investigated. Within the “Tavern Lot North”, a systematic sample of sheet midden and other surface deposits was accomplished through selective probing. Test units within the surface midden determined its extent, which varied in thickness across the north half of the Tavern Lot. Following testing, this midden was stripped to expose a variety of stratigraphic anomalies, including 30 post holes and soil stains. Five structural features were excavated, including a stone foundation, a timber frame structure, and a cobblestone surface.

Archeobotanical Studies

Six soil samples from two historic features were flotation-processed and analyzed during Goodwin’s Phase III investigations at 18BC139. Twelve liters of feature fill yielded 81.2 grams of plant material – including both carbonized and non-carbonized remains dating to the 18th- and 19th-century occupation.

Eight liters of soil were analyzed from Feature 9, an oval privy associated with the row house lot. Plant remains from Feature 9 include wood charcoal, non-carbonized wood fibers, and non-carbonized fruit pits and seeds representing both wild and cultivated taxa. Wood charcoal was classified as maple and red oak. Non-carbonized wood was exclusively pine. Non-carbonized seed remains were abundant (1,064 specimens). The following species were identified (in order of abundance): raspberry or blackberry, grape, clover, peach, pumpkin, elderberry, muskmelon, plum, and nightshade.

Four liters of fill were studied from Feature 29, a truncated barrel privy associated with the tavern. Botanical remains recovered from Feature 29 include wood charcoal, non-carbonized wood, seeds or edible fruits (1,005 specimens), bark fragments, and amorphous carbon. All wood fibers recovered from Feature 29 were identified as pine. Seed species recovered include (in order of abundance): grape, raspberry or blackberry, squash, muskmelon, and pumpkin. One fragment of amorphous carbon and 15 pieces of non-carbonized bark were also recovered from Feature 29.


McKnight, Justine
2000 Studies of Ethnobotanical Analyses. Appendix III In Phase I, II and III Archeological Investigations at the Juvenile Justice Center, Baltimore, Maryland. R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. for the Maryland Department of General Services, Baltimore. MHT # BC 128.
Williams, Martha, Nora Sheehan and Suzanne Sanders
2000 Phase I, II and III Archeological Investigations at the Juvenile Justice Center, Baltimore, Maryland.   R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. for the Maryland Department of General Services, Baltimore.   MHT # BC 128.

Thank you for visiting our web site. If you have any questions, comments,
or new information to share, please contact us at