18PR833 is a small, early to mid- 18th-century plantation site located in southern Prince Georges County.  The results of archival research, field investigations, and artifact analysis indicate that 18PR833 represents the inner yard of Francis Marbury’s Apple Hill property, dating from ca. 1715 to 1750.

The Apple Hill inner yard provides information on an important segment of plantation life during the early 18th century in Maryland.  Research on Maryland plantations has often emphasized those that are large, were occupied for long periods, or yielded vast quantities of artifacts.  Archaeology at smaller sites such as 18PR833 provides information on important aspects of the history of plantation development in colonial Maryland. 

Archaeological Investigations

18PR833 was found in the western half of an agricultural field in the western portion of the Villages of Savannah property, during a 2006 Phase I survey of the proposed development tract by Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc.

Phase II evaluation of 18PR833 by Greenhorne & O’Mara involved archival research, the hand excavation of 3 1x1 meter test units, machine excavation of ca. 166 m2 of site area, and hand excavation of 7 cultural features identified during the machine excavation phase.  The excavations recovered 175 artifacts that date to the early to mid- 18th century.  The seven cultural features included large circular pits and smaller circular to oblong pits or postmolds. 

Phase II archival research documented that 18PR833 was owned by the Marbury family and their heirs from the early 1700s through the 1920s.  Research suggests that the Marbury family likely resided at the nearby Wyoming plantation through the early 19th century.

In 2007, Greenhorne & O’Mara conducted Phase III data recovery at 18PR833.  Investigations included a controlled surface collection, machine excavation of 11 trenches or blocks, and hand excavation of 27 cultural features.  The features include the remains of a residential structure, a kitchen and cellar, two possible earthfast structures, several trash pits, and several privies and/or root cellars.  The controlled surface collection and excavations yielded a large assemblage of artifacts, faunal remains, and charred botanical remains.

Archeobotancial Studies

Data recovery at Apple Hill included a rigorous program of archeobotanical sampling and study.  A site total of 147 liters of feature fill hailing from 16 discrete features (16 different samples) was flotation-processed using a Flot-tech machine.  Processing produced 176.6 grams of carbonized material (a mean average of 1.2 grams per liter of floated feature fill).  A variety of economically-important cultivated and wild plant taxa were present within the site assemblage.  Wood charcoal occurred in 94 percent of the analyzed samples, with a site total of 18,998 fragments weighing 174.76 grams.  Identification of a random sub-sample revealed the predominance of white oak, along with hickory, red oak, yellow poplar, American chestnut, and maple.  The 18th-century agricultural staples maize, wheat, and beans were well represented, occurring in 56 percent of the analyzed samples.  Maize remains totaled twelve specimens; nine wheat kernels and two bean fragments were also identified.  The recovery of the remains of orchard fruits (1 peach pit) and black walnut (37 nutshell fragments) suggests that both cultivated and wild tree crops were important to the economy of the site.  Non-carbonized seeds were ubiquitous, and these were thought to be modern introductions unrelated to the history of the site.

Archeobotanical analysis was conducted by Justine McKnight. 


Kreisa, Paul P., and Jacqueline M. McDowell
2007 Phase III Archaeological Data Recovery of Site 18PR833 at the Villages of Savannah Development in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc., Laurel, Maryland.
Kreisa, Paul and Jacqueline M. McDowell
2007 Phase II NRHP Evaluation of Site 18PR833 within the Villages of Savannah Development, Prince George’s County, Maryland. Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc., Laurel, Maryland.
Kreisa, Paul P., Matthew Gill, and Jacqueline M. McDowell
2006 Phase I Archaeological Survey of the Villages of Savannah, Prince George’s County, Maryland. Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc., Laurel, Maryland.

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