The Biggs Ford site (18FR14) in Frederick County, Maryland describes a Late Woodland village site.  A Montgomery Complex occupation and a Luray Complex occupation are indicated.  Two possible domestic structures have been identified, and a palisade is associated with the Luray Complex occupation.  Ten graves contain a total of 12 individuals.

Archaeological Investigations

The Biggs Ford Site (18FR14) is an exceptionally well-preserved multicomponent Late Woodland village in Frederick County, Maryland. The site was known to local collectors for decades before any systematic excavation was ever performed there. The first documented subsoil testing was a brief examination by Spencer O. Geasey in the mid 1950s. No details are known regarding this early work, but Geasey did encounter undisturbed archeological deposits and features below the plowzone. Geasey later would donate his collection of materials from the site to the Maryland Historical Trust and would be the first to notify the Trust (then the Maryland Geological Survey, Division of Archeology) that a proposed sewer interceptor would soon cross the site. Data recovery excavations were conducted by the Division of Archeology from 1969-1970 to mitigate the impact to the site.

Several features were identified during excavation including hundreds of postmolds, 5 elongated refuse-filled pits arranged end-to-end in a large arc, 10 graves, at least 2 rectangular structures, possible palisades, and numerous circular pits (some appear to be hearths) scattered at random throughout the site. The features reveal at least two Late Woodland components at the site; a Montgomery Complex (AD 1000-1450) component associated with the elongated pits and a Luray Complex (AD 1300-1500) component associated with the randomly scattered circular pits. 

Archeobotanical Studies

Charred wood, corn cobs, beans and seeds (including corn kernels) were recovered from several of the features, but no formal analysis has been published. Several soil samples were retained from the various features, and some were submitted to Grace Brush for palynological analysis. Pollen and spores were very scarce in all of the samples. In samples from Features 2 (a burial) and 4 (one of the elongated pits), a few grass grains, ragweed, and an occasional linden or possible yew fragment was observed. However, the assemblage from Feature 6 (one of the circular pits) is much more robust. The assemblage in feature 6 included primarily herbaceous angiosperms, followed by tree angiosperms, and mosses/pteridophytes. The assemblage was 28.5% grasses, 6% ragweed, 6% sedges, 6% Polygonum, 6% slippery elm, 12 % other elm, 6% linden or basswood, 8% poplar, 17.1% club moss, 3 % moss, and 3% fern. The presence of polygonum and grasses suggest clearance for cultivation.  Harry Alden (2002) analyzed a charcoal sample from Biggs Ford, identifying yellow pine.


Brush, Grace S.
1971 Pollen Analysis. Report on the Biggs Ford Site.  Located in site file at the Maryland Historical Trust Library, Crownsville.
Alden, Harry
2002 Wood Analysis Report on Charcoal from Biggs Ford (18FR14).  Report on file at the Maryland Historical Trust library, Crownsville.
Bastian, Tyler
1974 Preliminary Notes on the Biggs Ford Site, Frederick County, Maryland.  Maryland Geological Survey. Report on file at the Maryland Historical Trust library, Crownsville.

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