The Sykesville LEDTF Cemetery (18CR239) is a Late 18th-early 19th Century Tenant Farm cemetery in Carroll County.

Archaeological Investigations

Analysis of the artifacts recovered from the burials excavated within the Sykesville cemetery indicate that the individuals interred there were buried between the years 1790-1825. The results of documentary research, artifact study and osteological analyses suggest that the cemetery had been used by a family or several families who were tenant farmers. The physical rigor of their daily lives was evident in the human remains and the simple nature of the burial furniture and clothing testify to their socio-economic standing. Osteological information revealed that several of the individuals were related. The strong family ties forged through work and leisure activities during life were expressed through closeness in death.

Archeobotanical Studies

Soil samples from 13 burials were processed by URS Greiner and of these 10 contexts from six burials were submitted to the Center for Cultural and environmental History and the University of Massachusetts Boston for analysis.   A total of 6 burials contained archeobotanical remains (67 seeds - all uncarbonized) that could be associated with funerary offerings, suggestive of regional burial practices and folk beliefs. Sassafras seeds were identified in Burials 2 (an elderly female), 7 (an adult female aged 45-49), and 13 (a subadult aged 1.5-2). Pokeweed seeds were recovered from Burials 3 (an adult female aged 50-59), 6 (an adult male aged around 35), and 12 (an adult female aged 30-40). A single blackberry or raspberry seed was also found with Burial 3. The presence of sassafras, pokeweed, and rubus seeds (blackberry/raspberry) in direct association with the burials at 18CR239 is similar to findings at a contemporaneous African-American cemetery (18FR323) at Catoctin Furnace located near Frederick, Maryland. See the synopsis report and ethnobotanical profile for 18FR323 for details regarding the seeds encountered at that site. The inclusion of the seeds in the Catoctin burials were interpreted as African burial customs or folk practices, but their presence in the Caucasian burials at 18CR323 may indicate that this is a regional tradition that crosses ethnic boundaries.


Slaughter, B.W., and E.H. Manning Sterling
2001 Data Recovery at 18CR239, the Sykesville Law Enforcement Driver Training Facility Cemetery, Sykesville, Carroll County, Maryland. (URS Corporation) MHT # CR 33.

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