The Rosenstock site (18FR18) is a Late Woodland period village characteristic of the Montgomery Focus, a late prehistoric cultural manifestation in the middle Potomac River drainage in Maryland and Virginia.  The site occupies approximately 1.5 acres on a high bluff overlooking the Monacacy River

Archaeological Investigations

The Rosenstock site was first noted by artifact collectors in 1907, and the site was officially recorded in 1970.  The property has not been plowed since 1913 and is currently wooded.  Throughout the 20th century the site was extensively collected by amateur archaeologists.

Four seasons of Archeological Society of Maryland (ASM) field schools at Rosenstock I were conducted in 1979 and from 1990 through 1992.  Approximately 360 square meters were excavated, representing about seven percent of the total site area. 

The site is roughly circular, described by an arching line of trash-filled pits.  No palisade has been documented, despite efforts to locate such a feature.  Known features include two semi-subterranean “keyhole” structures which may be the remains of sweat-lodges, burials, and household features including hearths, sheet midden, and refuse-filled pits. 

Recovered artifacts include abundant ceramics (almost exclusively Shepard Cord-Marked ware) bearing a variety of decorative motifs; clay tobacco pipes; projectile points (including predominantly Levanna triangular points along with LeCroy, Savannah River, Lehigh/Kroens-Crispin, Hellgrammite, Selby Bay, and Jack’s Reef types); and miscellaneous artifacts including a small steatite mask, chunkey stone fragments, gorget and celt fragements, bone and shell beads, a worked sharks tooth, bone fishhook, and worked soapstone.  An array of faunal materials was also well-documented at the site.

The ASM investigations included a rigorous program of radiocarbon dating of wood charcoal in an effort to document the cultural chronology of the Rosenstock site.  Thirteen radiocarbon dates span a range from AD 1000 to nearly AD 1600.  This suite of dates extends beyond the timeframe previously established for Montgomery Complex occupations (AD1000 to 1300), and yet occupational evidence at Rosenstock I suggests a single-component village occupation characterizes the site (see Curry and Kavanaugh 2004).  An additional direct AMS date on cultivated bean from Feature 17 is also available (McKnight 2009).

Archeobotanical Studies

An extensive collection of archeobotanical materials awaits the resources for their study.  Feature descriptions by Curry and Kavanagh (2004) note the presence of general classes of plant remains and detail the presence of beans and maize observed during site excavation.

Examination and dating of the contents of a discrete pocket of carbonized plant remains from Feature 17 was undertaken in 2009 by archeobotanical consultant Justine McKnight. Feature 17 was a large, sub-rectangular feature located on the southwestern side of the site. Distinct lenses of feature fill were apparent during excavation of Feature 17 which were interpreted as possible individual basket-loads of fill (Curry and Kavanagh 2004:13-14). pThese lenses captured evidence of discrete events, including the pocket of charred cultigen remains. Macro-botanical analysis was conducted on these remains (Sample Number 887), and beans, maize, and wood charcoal were identified. Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) from the feature were submitted for radiocarbon dating using the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) technique. This sample produced an uncalibrated radiocarbon date of 590 +/- 40 BP: AD 1360, which falls between two other dates on wood charcoal obtained from Feature 17 during earlier investigations.

Cal 2 sigma low
Cal Median Probability
Cal 2 sigma high
Feature 5 (1)
476 +/- 60 BP
AD 1310
AD 1436
AD 1522
Curry and Kavanagh 2004
Feature 5 (2)
500 +/- 30 BP
AD 1334
AD 1425
AD 1448
Curry and Kavanagh 2004
Feature 12
935 +/- 120 BP
AD 995
AD 1104
AD 1218
Curry and Kavanagh 2004
Feature 17 (1)
380 +/- 40 BP
AD 1426
AD 1648
Curry and Kavanagh 2004
Feature 17 (2)
740 +/- 160 BP
AD 1052
AD 1263
AD 1405
Curry and Kavanagh 2004
Feature 17 Beta 259069 Beans 590 +/- 40 BP AD1296 AD1350 AD1415 McKnight 2009


Curry, Dennis C. and Maureen Kavanagh
2004 Excavations at the Rosenstock Village Site (18FR18), Frederick County, Maryland: A Preliminary Report.Maryland Archeology 40(1):1-38.
McKnight, Justine W.

Study of a Pocket of Cultigens and Direct Dating of Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) from a Late Woodland Context at the Rosenstock Site 18FR18, Frederick County, Maryland. Report submitted to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Maryland.


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