The Aud site (18ST634) is located on a terrace overlooking the estuary of the St. Mary’s River.  It is surrounded by wetlands on three sides.  Artifacts and radiocarbon dates from the site document that it served as a short-term resource procurement camp from the Early Archaic through Late Woodland periods.

Archaeological Investigations

Phase I testing at the Aud site by Carol Ebright (Maryland State Highway Administration) consisted of unsystematic surface inspection followed by 96 shovel test pits at 20m and 10m intervals.  The site was considered to be potentially significant based on the presence of prehistoric artifacts in intact sub-plowzone contexts.

Phase II evaluation (also by Ebright) included topographic mapping of the site, piece-plotting of surface artifacts, and the excavation of test units totaling 12 square meters.  Phase I and II investigations produced one quartz projectile-point base, debitage, fire-cracked rock, hammerstones, and two small pottery sherds.  The richest portion of the site appeared to be on the north side of the back pasture area, but artifacts also occurred in the more poorly-drained areas, and over the whole pasture.

John Milner Associates, Inc. conducted a Phase III archaeological data recovery on behalf of the Maryland State Highway Administration.  Phase III research was designed to clarify the chronology at the site, the paleo-environmental setting of the area, and the adaptive strategies employed by the site occupants. 

Artifacts recovered during data recovery include 35 points/bifaces (24 quartz, 3 quartzite, 7 rhyolite, 1 jasper), ceramics, debitage, fire-cracked rock, ground stone tools, and oyster shells.  The most intensively occupied portion still seemed to be the rear pasture, east of Greens Rest Run, although the front pasture yielded some cultural material.

This site most likely represents a series of short-term resource procurement camps, with components from all prehistoric periods except Paleoindian.  Recovered projectile points include 1 Kirk, 1 Morrow Mountain I, 1 Otter Creek side-notched, 1 Brewerton side-notched, 1 Holmes, 14 Rossville/Piscataway (9 quartz, 4 rhyolite, 1 quartzite), 1 untyped side-notched, 7 Selby Bay (3 rhyolite, 4 quartz, 1 jasper), 7 Levanna (5 quartz, 1 rhyolite, 1 quartzite), and 1 Calvert.  Ceramic sherds include 35 Accokeek, 4 Rappahannock, 33 Mockley, 2 Popes Creek, 1 Sullivan, and 3 Potomac Creek.

Features included two small early Late Woodland period roasting pits.  Woodland period occupants of the site seemed to exploit local resources more systematically and intensively than Archaic period occupants, who were there on an infrequent and probably casual basis.

Temporally-diagnostic artifacts collected from Aud indicate a long sequence of occupations, potentially spanning 8000 years.  Projectile points dating to the Archaic period are uncommon, represented by five specimens.  The Early Woodland period occupations were probably the most intense, as indicated by 9 Piscataway points and bifaces, 5 Rossville points, 1 Calvert point, and 1 side-notched point.  Thirty-three Accokeek and 2 Popes Creek sherds reflect relatively intense Early to early Middle Woodland period occupations.  Middle Woodland period occupations are represented by 7 Selby Bay points and bifaces and 35 Mockley ceramics.  Late Woodland period occupations are indicated by 7 Levanna points, although only 7 Late Woodland ceramic sherds were recovered during Phase III excavations.  The relative frequencies of temporally-sensitive artifacts suggest shifting patterns of use and activities performed at the Aud site though various periods of prehistory.

The Aud site served as a specialized-activity camp throughout much of prehistory.  Activities conducted at the site revolved around the procurement, processing, and consumption of resources available in the local wetland and upland forests.  Early occupants (Early-Late Archaic) visited the locale on an infrequent and probably casual basis.  Late inhabitants (Early Woodland to early Late Woodland) exploited the resources in the vicinity of Aud more intensively and systematically than previously.  Procurement of interior wetland resources was the concern shared by all occupants of the site.  The manner and degree to which these resources were collected and processed varied with changes in local environmental conditions and overall mobility and adaptive strategies.

Archeobotanical Studies

Archeobotanical studies were emphasized during both Phase II and Phase III investigations, and provide critical baseline data on prehistoric setting and ethnobotany in Southern Maryland.

Phase II analyses by Gary Crites included 14 water-processed samples from three test units.  Each sample represented 9.09 liters of subsoil/feature matrix (a site total of 127.26 liters).  There was a paucity of carbonized plant remains from the Phase II assemblage: a site total of 0.10 grams of carbonized remains was composed of <2mm wood charcoal fragments and non-carbonized (modern) seeds.  Recommendations from Crites' Phase II study were adopted for Phase III field testing, namely that large soil samples of 10 to 20 liters be procured for flotation processing, as feature sizes and soil volumes permitted. 

Twenty soil flotation samples were collected from the Aud site during Phase III excavations. Water separation of the soil samples was performed in John Milner Associates' West Chester, Pennsylvania lab.  he heavy and light fractions were further processed and analyzed by Leslie E. Rayner and Nancy A. Parrish of New South Associates, Stone Mountain, Georgia.  Twenty 3-to-9 liter samples totaled 180 liters of soil floated, which produced a total of 49.5 grams of light fraction material.  Samples were taken from eleven cultural features, including roasting pits, postholes, FCR concentrations, and pits.  Only sparse charred macroplant remains were recovered, including 17.3 grams of wood charcoal, 3 charred seed fragments, 3 charred hickory nutshell fragments, and approximately 500 uncharred (modern) seeds. Plant material from Features 11 and 12 (roast pits) produced uncalibrated radiocarbon dates of 940 +/- 60 BP: AD 1010 (Beta 79536), and 980 +/- 60 BP: AD 970 (Beta 79537), documenting that the two features date to the same occupation of the Aud site.

As part of Phase III work, palynologist Grace Bush analyzed a core from Pete’s Bog near the Aud site. The 75 cm long core consisted entirely of dark brown to black peat. IIt was divided into 1 cm intervals, and 26 subsamples were analyzed for pollen content. Organic sediments collected from two sections of the core were submitted for radiocarbon dating. The base of the core (75 cm) produced an uncalibrated date of 6380+/- 80 BP: BC 4430 (Beta 81723). Sediment retrieved from 48 to 52 cm was dated to 1560+/- 60 BP: AD 390 (Beta 90596).  These dates were used as a basis for calculating sediment rates from approximately 4500 B.C. to the onset of European agriculture in the area, ca. A.D. 1600.  The historic period is marked by a dramatic increase of ragweed in the pollen profile.  From top to bottom, the Pete’s Bog core was divided into four pollen zones: ragweed, holly, sphagnum, and cedar.

The pollen profile from Pete’s Bog indicates major climatic changes in upland vegetation, although the St. Mary’s River estuary was in place during the entire time spanned by the core.span style="mso-spacerun:yes">  Upland habitats shifted from wet bogs and marshes dominated probably by Atlantic white cedar and sphagnum moss from 6,000 to 1,500 years ago to drier habitats 1,500 years ago.  Other pollen diagrams in the region provide very different profiles, which indicate that the Pete’s Bog core reflects local changes in wetland and estuarine communities, probably relating to the effects of sea level rise.

Phase III investigations also included phytolith analysis of sediment samples by Susan Mulholland.  Twenty sediment samples were analyzed for silica phytolith content.  A very low abundance of silica phytolith was documented in the analyzed samples.  These results indicate extremely intense weathering activity or a low initial silica deposition (or a combination of both conditions).

Beta No
C-13 Adj Age
Cal 2 sigma low
Cal Median Probability
Cal 2 sigma high
Feature 11
940 +/- 60 BP
AD 995
AD 1102
AD 1216
Feature 12
980 +/- 60 BP
AD 903
AD 1076
AD 1209
Pete’s Bog Base @ 75 cm
6380 +/- 100 BP
5531 BC
5356 BC
5074 BC
Pete’s Bog Mid Core
1560 +/- 60 BP
AD 386
AD 496
AD 631


Brush, Grace S. and Shaomin Yuan
1995 Pollen Analysis at the Aud Site and Pete’s Bog. Appendix III to Phase III Data Recovery at the Aud Site (Site 18ST634) St. Mary's County, Maryland. Maryland Routes 5 and 246 Wetlands Mitigation Area. SHA Report no. 111. John Milner Associates, Inc.
Crites, Gary D.
1994 Plant Remains: Contents of Phase II Flotation Samples from the Aud Site, St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Crites and Associates for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Ebright, Carol A.
1994 Phase I and II Archeological Survey and Testing of the Aud Site (18ST634), Maryland Routes 5 and 246 Wetland Mitigation Area, St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Maryland State Highway Administration.
Mullholland, Susan C.
1995 Phytolith Analysis of Sediment Samples from the Aud Site (18ST634), St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Appendix IV to Phase III Data Recovery at the Aud Site (Site 18ST634) St. Mary's County, Maryland. Maryland Routes 5 and 246 Wetlands Mitigation Area. SHA Report no. 111. John Milner Associates, Inc.
Raymer, Leslie E. and Nancy A. Parrish
1996 Report on Macroplant Remains from the 1994 Aud Site (18ST634) Data Recovery, St. Mary’s County, Maryland. New South Associates Technical Report #326, Appendix to Phase III Data Recovery at the Aud Site (Site 18ST634) St. Mary's County, Maryland. Maryland Routes 5 and 246 Wetlands Mitigation Area. SHA Report no. 111. John Milner Associates, Inc.
Reeve, Stuart and Peter E. Siegel
1995 Phase III Data Recovery at the Aud Site (Site 18ST634) St. Mary's County, Maryland. Maryland Routes 5 and 246 Wetlands Mitigation Area. SHA Report no. 111. John Milner Associates, Inc.

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