The main occupation of the Angelica Knoll site
most likely represents the residence of Richard Johns and his
family and descendants. Johns acquired the property at some point
between 1677 and 1717. Though the exact date is uncertain, the
presence of pipes made by Llewellyn Evans at the site indicates
that there must have been an occupation there by 1689. Richard
Johns was a successful planter and a member of Maryland’s
early Quaker community. The Calvert Cliffs area where Angelica
Knoll is located was a center of Quaker activity, as monthly meetings
took place there for over 100 years from c. 1672-1771.
When Richard Johns died, the portion of the
tract with the plantation home descended to his son Isaac. At
Isaac’s death in 1734, a probate inventory taken of his
goods describes where they were physically located on the plantation,
leading to some hints about the architecture there. The main house
had a hall, closet, room, and porch, each with a chamber above.
This indicates a probable two-story cruciform structure. Outbuildings
mentioned include a milk house and a kitchen, which also had a
Isaac left the Angelica plantation to his sons
Richard and Samuel to be divided equally. Richard got the first
choice of land and most likely selected the area with the structures.
Since there were so many Johns family members named Richard, Isaac’s
son Richard was referred to as “Richard Johns of Angelica”
when he witnessed his cousin Richard’s will in 1748.
A geologist studying Calvert Cliffs first brought the Angelica Knoll site to the attention of archaeologists when
he took artifacts he had surface collected to the Smithsonian
in the early 1950s. Robert Elder and a team of volunteers then
undertook systematic excavations there from 1954 to 1959. The
study represents a very early example of historical archaeology
in Maryland and it took place before current standards for treatment
of artifacts had been established. Features were mapped and identified,
and many artifacts were retained, but soil was not screened, and
certain categories of artifacts were discarded. For example, pipes
with marks and decorations were retained, but, “A half bushel
of plain stem fragments was not retained” (Elder 1991:28).
Additionally, artifacts were not curated by provenience. Elder
(1991:8) states, “Originally, materials from the foundation
were kept separately, but careful analysis showed them to be the
same as from the rest of the site. Therefore they were integrated
in the final storage of specimens.”
Despite these problems with the collection,
a 1991 reexamination of Elder’s work by Silas Hurry and
Julia King determined that the site most likely dates to the occupation
by Richard Johns, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s wife Elizabeth
c. 1677-1735. An occupation by Isaac’s son Richard is also
probable after 1735. The assemblage can therefore be used as a
study collection for a late 17th- to mid 18th-century site.
|Elder, Jr., Robert A.
||Excavation Report on the Angelica
(Knoll) Area: A Colonial Historical Site on the Jones Farm in
Maryland. Maryland Archeology 27(1):1-47.
The Angelica Knoll archaeological collection
is owned by the Maryland Historical Trust and curated at the Maryland
Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.