The Fairland Branch/Jackson Homestead Site is a multi-component site containing both historic and prehistoric cultural occupations.  The site supported a series of short-term resource processing encampments spanning the Middle Archaic through Late Woodland periods.   The historic component consists of an African American homestead spanning the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Archaeological Investigation

The Fairland Branch/Jackson Homestead Site is located along the east and west sides of U.S. Route 29 along the proposed Inter County Connector alignment in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Archaeological investigations were conducted in advance of road construction efforts by the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Phase II investigations by URS Corporation identified various occupational histories represented at the site, and focused on both prehistoric and historic components.  Phase III Data Recovery efforts were limited to historic homestead.  The Jackson Homestead was home to Malinda Adams Jackson and her family.  The site includes the main house and two ancillary domestic structures.  A total of 19 cultural features were identified with the Jackson Homestead, and field investigations produced 160,491 historic artifacts.  Included among these was a rich diversity of person and religious items.  Organic preservation within the Jackson Homestead features permitted the study of a wide range of personal and domestic items.

Archeobotanical Studies

The Phase III Data Recovery investigations included the rigorous sampling of cultural features for archeobotanical remains.  Analysis was conducted on 151 floral samples.

Archeobotanical remains included 69,995 specimens (68,963 derived from flotation and 1,032 from hand-collected samples).  The sampled features contained both carbonized and uncarbonized plant remains relating to food, medicine and construction.  The site produced an abundance of seeds (830 carbonized, 28,380 uncarbonized and 9 partially charred specimens).  Crop plant remains include maize, wheat and bottle gourd (n=15 specimens).  Fleshy fruits were well-represented (n=15,074) with blackberry, blueberry, cherry, chokeberry, chokecherry, elder, grape, groundcherry, hackberry, mulberry, peach, pear, plum, strawberry sumac, and possibly blackberry and grape identified.  Various categories of useful herbaceous plants included 1,031 seed specimens. Poke, bean, chenopod/amaranth, dock/sorrel, early yellowrocket, garden orache, knotweed, lettuce, mustard, purselane, sunflower, woodsorrel, buttercup, catchfly, clammyweed, honeysuckle, jimsonweed, nightshade, St. Johnswort, threeseeded mercury, bristle grass, bulrush, milkvetch, crowngrass, goosegrass, grass, carpetweed, hogwort, lovegrass, panic grass, sedge, spikerush were identified.  Tentatively identified specimens include honeysuckle, ragweed, pepperweed and sheep sorrel.  A variety of trees and shrubs were also identified from recovered seeds (n=12,868).  These include tuliptree, spicebush, silk tree, dogwood and possibly pine.  Tree nuts included beech, black walnut and hickory (671 specimens).  Wood remains represent 21 taxa and includes 33,777 carbonized, 75 partially burned and 25 unburned fragments.  American chestnut dominated the wood assemblage.  Miscellaneous vegetal materials recovered from the site include amorphous carbon, bark, monocot stem, bud scale, gymnosperm cone scale, twigs and stem material.

The macro-botanical assemblage from Jackson Homestead represents structural materials, food, and medicine.  The differential burning of plant materials from the site complicates the quantification of remains and their interpretation, but the excellent organic preservation and the association of plant remains within domestic contexts provides a unique and interesting set of data.


Furgerson, Kathleen, Varna Boyd, Carey O’Reilly, Justin Bedard, Tracy Formica and Randolph Anthony
2012 Phase II and III Archaeological Investigations of the Fairland Branch Site and the Jackson Homestead (Site 18MO609).  Intercounty Connector Project, Montgomery County Maryland.  Maryland State Highway Administration Report No. 426.
Furgerson, Kathleen
2012 Archeobotany of the Jackson Homestead (18MO609) Montgomery County, Maryland.  Appendix G in Phase II and III Archaeological Investigations of the Fairland Branch Site and the Jackson Homestead (Site 18MO609).  Intercounty Connector Project, Montgomery County Maryland.  Maryland State Highway Administration Report No. 426.

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