The Beehive site (18HO206) is located adjacent to an unnamed tributary of Shallow Run off the Patapsco River in Howard County Maryland.  Occupied during the Late Archaic period and possibly the Middle Archaic period, the Beehive site functioned as a short-term procurement camp and lithic quarry. 

Archeological Investigations

Archaeological investigations at the Beehive site were conducted by R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., on behalf of the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration in conjunction with wetland mitigation efforts for Maryland Route 100 construction.

Phase II evaluation identified at least two well-defined stratified components within floodplain portions of the site.  Data recovered indicate that these components retained a very high degree of integrity, with occupational horizons contained within distinct stratigraphic units.  These horizons were buried well beneath modern disturbances to the site.

Phase III data recovery documented six distinct activity areas within the Beehive site.  The recovered artifact assemblage was dominated by lithic debris related to core preparation and reduction, flake production, and biface manufacturing.  A limited range of non-reduction activities also were inferred from the cultural materials recovered from the site.  The presence of a limited number of projectile points and fire-cracked rock indicates a more intensive occupation than one solely dedicated to quarry-related activities.  The extensive evidence for flake tool use at the site indicates that lithic procurement was not carried out in isolation from other resource procurement.  Evidence for wood/bone working and occasional hide or meat processing was associated with a series of lithic reduction loci identified at the site.  Such a pattern of imbedded lithic procurement is posited for nearly all sites in the Fall Line zone.

Geomorphological studies associated with the Phase II survey documented that the topography of the site during the periods of occupation consisted of a low floodplain that sloped gently towards a low terrace; the western margin of the site may have been defined by a network of gravel and point bars that resulted from Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene outwash.  Prehistoric activity occurred along the riverine edge of a low terrace and on the floodplain.

Archeobotanical Studies

Archeobotanical studies contributed to both the Phase II and Phase III investigations at the Beehive site.

Phase II macro-botanical studies were accomplished by Justine McKnight, and radiocarbon assays were secured on two samples of studied floral remains.  Flotation processing of 12 liters of cultural sediment yielded a total of 4.88 grams of charcoal (an average of 0.4 grams per liter).  A presence/absence study of material types was conducted.  The botanical assemblage included both coniferous and deciduous wood charcoal, a variety of small, starchy seeds (including pigweed and knotweed), rind fragments, unidentifiable plant pares, and limited amorphous charcoal.  In addition to the flotation samples, carbonized plant macro-remains were examined from two hand-collected carbon samples taken in Test Unit 7, and from an auger test made at the base of Test Unit 19.  Hickory and white oak woods were identified from Test Unit 7, and fibers of bald cypress wood were identified from 160-163 cmbs below Test Unit 19.

Phase III archeobotany included macro-botanical, pollen, and phytolith analyses. Macro-botanical analyses were performed by Michelle Williams.  Constant volume soil samples of 2 liters were taken from each level within all 54 test units excavated.  The resulting data are summarized in the Phase III report as “A minimal amount of carbonized wood and seeds.”  Most of the carbonized material recovered from the site was associated with the Ab horizon and Feature 54-1 (a historic charcoal hearth at the top of the Ab horizon).  Wood charcoal from flotation and hand-collected samples within Feature 54-1 are reported to contain oak, hickory, ash, and elm.

Pollen and phytolith analyses were conducted by PaleoResearch Laboratories. These micro-botanical studies determined the frequencies of vegetation groups represented in Ab and Bwb horizons.  Three samples from Block B excavations were studied: one each from horizons Ab, Bwb, and from near the bottom of the Bwb horizon.

The pollen count totaled 100 grains at a magnification of 500x from the Ab horizon sample.  Maple, alder chestnut, hazel, holly, pine, oak , hemlock, wormwood, amaranth and pigweed, sedge, heath, evening primrose, grass, meadow rue, and cattail pollen was documented in the Ab horizon sample.  There was insufficient pollen preserved for study from deeper contexts.

Phytoliths were better preserved in all three samples, with a variety of forms present, including identifiable sedge (from the Bwb horizon) and coniferous plant phytoliths (from all three horizons).  Vegetation groups represented by the phytolith samples varied slightly between the samples.  The Ab sample provided greater evidence for humid grasses, revealing a change in vegetation that may be due to a change in environmental conditions, to variation in stream channel definition or competency, or to human alteration of the landscape.  The Bwb samples contained greater evidence for both warmer and drier conditions, as well as evidence for a decrease in conifer species.   


Polglase, Christopher, Jeffrey Maymon, Thomas Davis, Michael Simons, Kathleen Child, and S. Justine Woodard
1994 Phase II Investigation of Sites 18HO203 and 18HO206 for the Proposed Maryland Route 100 from I-95 to I-97 Wetland Mitigation Project, Howard County, Maryland.  R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., for the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration.
Maymon, Jeffrey, Kathryn McGrath, Thomas Majorov, Kathleen Child, Thomas Davis and Christopher Polglase
1996 Phase III Archeological Data Recovery at the Beehive Site (18HO206), Howard County, Maryland.R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., for the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration.
Cummings, Linda Scott
1996 Pollen and Phytolith Analysis, Phase III Archeological Data Recovery at the Beehive Site (18HO206), Howard County, Maryland.  PaleoResearch Labs Technical Report 95-25.  Appendix III to Phase III Archeological Data Recovery at the Beehive Site (18HO206), Howard County, Maryland.  R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., for the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration.

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