The King’s Reach Quarter Site (18CV84) consists of two earthfast structures and a fence line associated with the Richard Smith, Jr. Plantation, now part of the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) in Calvert County, Maryland. King’s Reach Quarter is part of a complex of sites, including 18CV83 and 18CV85, that formed the core of the Smith plantation in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The structures at 18CV84 are located several hundred feet inland from the main homelot, 18CV83, and possibly represent a second outlying quarter and an associated outbuilding. A large tobacco house (18CV85) was situated several hundred feet from King’s Reach Quarter.

Archaeological Investigations

King’s Reach Quarter was first identified during a surface collection in 1981 by Wayne Clark and Michael Smolek. Dennis Pogue conducted additional surface collections in 1987 to define artifact concentrations and the site’s relationship to 18CV83. Between 1996 and 1999, the Public Archaeology Program at JPPM conducted excavations at King’s Reach Quarter to further understand the relationship between the multiple buildings of the Smith plantation complex. Testing consisted of a systematic, intensive surface collection in 445 three-meter squares across a plowed agricultural field to define artifact concentrations. In addition, 132 shovel test pits and 54 test units, measuring 1.5-by-1.5-meters, were excavated. All fill was screened through ¼-inch mesh.

Excavations revealed an unusual, trench-set post building measuring approximately 20 by 40 feet. Wooden posts, ranging between three and six inches in diameter, were set into the trench approximately two-and-a-quarter-feet apart. Several excavated posts reveal that the trench was deeper than the posts. As no daub or unfired clay was recovered, this building was probably clapboarded. The concentration of structural and domestic remains, the lack of a hearth, and its central location to surrounding agricultural fields suggests that this building possibly served as a servant’s or slaves’ quarters or less likely, as an agricultural building. A single posthole for a second structure was uncovered, but the function of this building and its size are unknown. A fence line ran between the two buildings, in the general direction of the main house at King’s Reach. A large number of artifacts suggest the location of a refuse midden between the two structures.


Archaeological investigations at King’s Reach Quarter recovered 191,683 artifacts, which includes 185,590 oyster shell fragments. This site appears to have abeen occupied at the same time as 18CV83, but its assemblage contains a greater percentage of utilitarian artifacts and less diversity in artifact types. Unlike the adjacent 18CV83, there were few artifacts at 18CV84 that reflected wealth, supporting the idea that this was a quarter for servants or slaves.

Recovered ceramics included Border ware, tin-glazed earthenwares, Rhenish blue and gray stoneware, English brown stoneware, and unidentified lead-glazed earthenwares. Border ware sherds exhibited both clear and green lead glazes on interior surfaces, and Red Border ware was also recovered. King’s Reach Quarter yielded only 40 tin-glazed earthenware sherds, substantially less than 18CV83. No marked tobacco pipe fragments were recovered. Glass artifacts included numerous wine and case bottle fragments, five table glass fragments, three glass beads, and one "WC" bottle seal. The majority of metal artifacts were iron nails, but seven lead shot and one unidentified copper alloy hardware piece were also recovered.

In addition, the presence of Native American ceramics and lithic artifacts confirms a small Woodland component at this site. Most lithic objects were manufactured from quartz, quartzite, rhyolite, chert, and sandstone, and include two Calvert and one Potomac projectile points, four unidentified projectile points, four bifaces, one hammerstone, 613 pieces of debitage, and 241 fire-cracked rocks. Identified ceramic types include Potomac Creek and Townsend Series wares.


The document collection consists of original records in good condition, with the exception of some discoloration and minor staining from field exposure. The records are housed in three letter-sized archival clamshell boxes and one oversized archival enclosure.

The excavation records are organized by unit number and include provenience cards, soil description forms, and plan and profile drawings. Field journals exist for the periods May through July 1996, June through September 1997, June through September 1998, June through December 1999, and May 2000. Other records include shovel test pit forms and photograph logs.

Additional records present in the collection have been scanned as .PDF files; although not searchable, they are also available online. These include survey logs, surface collection forms, stratum registers, artifact control sheets, various maps, a Maryland Historical Trust site survey form, a preliminary soil investigation report, and artifact catalogs. There are no reports for the King’s Reach Quarter site.

Photographs taken on-site or in post-processing are available through the online database, and are searchable using the above criteria. Researchers should note that images are not linked directly to specific documents, and photograph records do not necessarily exist for all features or units. Original images consist of slides, contact sheets, and prints, and are housed at the MAC Lab.


King, Julia
1999     Two Colonial Agricultural Buildings. Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory Occasional Newsletter V.2(6):1-2.
Pogue, Dennis
1990      King’s Reach and 17th-Century Plantation Life. Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum Studies in Archaeology No.1. Maryland Historical & Cultural Publications, Annapolis.

Digital Resources



Artifact Documents
Excavation Documents
  • Notes (8 pages, 3.05 MB)
Project Documents
Soil Documents
Survey Logs

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An online archive of over 30 archaeological sites in Maryland, produced by the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab with the support of the National Endowment of the Humanities.