Site 18CH227is a multicomponent site located on Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County. Recovered artifacts and features suggest prehistoric occupations during the Late Archaic, early Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland periods. A late 18th-century house site on the property is also documented.

Archaeological Investigations

18CH227 was originally recorded by Wilke and Thompson. The site covered approximately four acres and consisted of scattered-to-dense oyster shell concentrations. The periphery of the site had been disturbed by an access road and bulldozing activities. The shell deposit varied in thickness, but based on probing appeared to be at least 15" deep. A complete surface inspection of the site revealed numerous flakes and chunks of quartz and quartzite, as well as several sherds of Potomac Creek pottery, which indicated a Late Woodland period occupation.

MAAR Associates found two fire-cracked rocks and a small quantity of shell in one shovel test pit during 1993 Phase I shovel testing and probing of the northern (wooded) section of the site. No subsurface testing by MAAR was conducted in the southern portion of the site.

Phase II fieldwork by Tetra Tech, Inc. commenced at 18CH227 in February 1999. A pedestrian survey was conducted in the cleared portion of the site and along the shoreline. During this survey, shell was noted eroding out of the bluff along the entire shoreline from King's Creek south to a marsh and east along the marsh edge to a springhead. More shell was present in the southern portion of the site than in the northern portion. In addition, a number of artifacts were recovered from the beach area, including diagnostic projectile points and prehistoric pottery, other stone tools and debitage, and fire-cracked rock. Subsurface testing included 203 shovel test pits at 15m intervals, and 13 excavation units. Surface collection, shovel testing, and unit excavations led to the recovery of 1145 artifacts. A total of 981 are prehistoric, 136 are historic, 25 could not be identified as to period, and 3 were non-cultural items that were retained. Just over half of the artifacts found during test unit excavation (n-467) came from the surface, plowzone, or A horizon, while the remainder were found in either feature (n=79) or B horizon (n=331) soils. Four features were identified, including:

1) A shallow pit, possibly shell-lined, with possible Mockley sherds, debitage, fire-cracked rock, burnt wood, nuts/seeds, bone, and shell. A charcoal sample taken for radiocarbon dating returned an uncalibrated date of 3370+/- 90 BP: BC 1420 (Beta-140957), which places the feature in the Transitional Archaic period.

2) A steep-walled pit in the southwestern portion of the same unit, filled with oyster shell, some of which was burnt. Fire-cracked rock was also found. Marcey Creek sherds found in this unit may have come from this feature.

3) A rounded, shallow, basin-shaped feature identified at the interface between Zones B and C. Feature fill was the same as the surrounding matrix, but with a concentration of shell and light charcoal flecking. Artifacts were limited to two fire-cracked rocks.

4) A recent historic post feature. Artifacts recovered included a metal ordnance fragment, fire-cracked rock, and a Holmes projectile point. The prehistoric materials appear to have been incorporated into the feature fill inadvertently.

Diagnostic artifacts recovered at 18CH227 included 9 Marcey Creek-like sherds, 1 Selden Island sherd, 10 possible Accokeek sherds, 14 probable Popes Creek sherds, 11 Mockley sherds, 107 Potomac Creek sherds, 2 Rappahannock sherds, 1 Morrow Mountain point, 4 Savannah River-Holmes point variants, 2 Late Woodland period triangular points.

Historic artifacts recovered during Phase II testing included 49 wrought nails, 43 clay pipe fragments, 3 earthenware sherds (2 possible Staffordshire), 5 stoneware sherds (including white salt-glazed and Rhenish blue and gray), and 25 redware sherds, indicating a possible 18th century domestic occupation. Most ceramics were remains of coarse everyday cooking or serving pieces. No porcelain and few fine wares were recovered, suggesting an agricultural home, possibly a tenant farmhouse that existed within Jesuit plantation holdings.

Archeobotanical Studies

Three flotation samples totaling 38 liters were analyzed by Justine McKnight as part of Phase II evaluation at 18CH227. Processing yielded 3.38 grams of carbonized plant macro-remains, an average density of 0.089 grams per liter. Samples were retained from prehistoric Features 1 and 2, and from a general excavation level in Zone C (Test Unit 6). Recovered plant remains included 190 carbonized wood fragments weighing 1.98 grams. White oak, hickory, ash, black walnut, red cedar, and tulip poplar were identified. Nutshell remains totaled 29 fragments weighing 0.4 grams. A total of 54 fragments of amorphous carbon was also found in flotation samples from Features 1 and 2. Non-carbonized seeds were present in low numbers within all flotation samples analyzed. These are thought to be modern contaminants.

Beta No
C 13 Adjusted Age
Cal 2 sigma low
Cal Median Probability
Cal 2 sigma high
3370 +/- 90 BP
1888 BC
1666 BC
1455 BC


Leininger, Hope and Paula F. Bienenfeld
2001 Phase II Archaeological Studies: Sites 18CH155, 18CH156, 18CH161, 18CH162, 18CH218, 18CH222, and 18CH227, Blossom Point Test Facility, Charles County, Maryland. Tetra Tech, Inc. for the United States Army.
McKnight, Justine
2001 Paleobotanical Analysis. Appendix D to Phase II Archaeological Studies: Sites 18CH155, 18CH156, 18CH161, 18CH162, 18CH218, 18CH222, and 18CH227, Blossom Point Test Facility, Charles County, Maryland. Tetra Tech, Inc. for the United States Army.

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