The Kettering Park Site (18PR174) is a stratified, Native American occupation that spans the Early Archaic through the Late Woodland Periods in Prince Georges County, Maryland. This small procurement camp appears to have been most intensively occupied during the Late Archaic/Early Woodland Transition Period, with another major habitation during the Late Woodland Period.

The Kettering Park Site documents the era around 1000BC when Native Americans were becoming more sedentary. Tool-making areas were evident at this possible spring or early summer fishing camp located near the main stem of the Patuxent River. Furthermore, this site contains one of the largest samples of Early Woodland Period Accokeek ceramics from the recovered from the Patuxent drainage.

Archaeological Investigations

Terrence Epperson conducted a Phase I survey along a proposed dualization corridor of Maryland Route 214 on July 26 and 27, 1979. The Kettering Park Site was identified during a surface collection, and six test pits were excavated to verify subsurface integrity. Five test pits measured two by two meters, while the sixth measured 1.5 by 1.5 meters. Each test pit was excavated to a depth of 1.5 to 2 meters, and all soil was screened through ¼-inch mesh. Epperson recovered numerous prehistoric artifacts, including ceramics and lithics.

Maureen Kavanagh and Silas Hurry directed a Phase II investigation at the Kettering Park Site from April 12 to May 24, 1983. One hundred and sixty-six shovel test pits were excavated at five meter intervals along transects five meters apart in two major blocks across the site. Based on artifact distributions and soil stratigraphy from the shovel tests, eleven larger test units were selected for excavation. Ten of these units measured one by one meters, while the eleventh measured 1.5 by 1.5 meters. All shovel test pits and test units were excavated in natural layers, and all soil was screened through ¼-inch mesh. When necessary, layers were subdivided into arbitrary 10cm levels. The units revealed an intact cultural deposit below the plow zone. In addition, G. Mathias Kondolf conducted a pedological and geomorphological study of the site.

In November and December 1985, Kavanagh and Hurry conducted Phase III excavations at the Kettering Park Site to obtain a representative sample of the Late Archaic and Early Woodland artifacts from the sub-plow zone horizon. Thirteen two-by-two-meter units, divided into four one-meter-square quadrants, were excavated according to natural stratigraphy, and when possible, in 10cm arbitrary levels. All humus and plow zone strata were removed by shovels from the northwest quadrant and screened through ¼-inch mesh. The plow zone from the three remaining quadrants in each unit was removed without screening, but all detected cultural material was retained. No features were noted during any of the archaeological investigations at the Kettering Park Site. In 1994, Engineering-Science, Inc. was contracted to write up the Phase II and III excavations for the Maryland State Highway Administration.


A total of 6,662 artifacts, including ceramics, fire-cracked rocks, and lithic tools and debitage, were recovered during all phases of archaeological investigations at the Kettering Park Site. The majority of the artifacts date from the Late Archaic/Early Woodland Transition and the Late Woodland Periods, but a few artifacts from the Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, and Middle Woodland Periods suggest that the site was periodically occupied throughout prehistory. All lithic tools, cores, and ceramics were assigned unique artifact numbers within each lot number to aid artifact analyis.

Over 1000 ceramics were recovered from the site. An analysis of 818 identifiable sherds revealed that they dated from all Woodland Periods. Pottery from the Early Woodland Period consisted of two Marcey Creek, three Selden Island, and 449 Accokeek sherds, which were sub-classified as Cord-Marked, Coarseware, and Micaceous Sand-Tempered. The 96 sherds of Accokeek Micaceous Sand-Tempered ware mended to form a partial vessel. The Middle Woodland Period was represented by just eleven Mockley sherds. However, there were five Late Woodland Period pottery types, including 53 Townsend, 16 Riggins, six Moyaone, five Shepard, and one Potomac Creek sherd.

Over 4,700 lithic artifacts, mostly quartz, quartzite, chert, and rhyolite, were recovered from the Kettering Park Site. All 826 fire-cracked rocks from the site were weighed, counted, and discarded. Bifacially worked tools included 56 projectile points, ranging from the Middle Archaic through the Late Woodland, and 44 bifaces. A graver, three endscrapers, a side scraper, and two scraper fragments represent some of the unifacial tools recovered, while a soapstone bowl fragment, a polished siltstone bannerstone fragment, and eight possible hammerstones comprise the ground stone tools. Debitage and cores made up the vast majority of the recovered lithic artifacts, and analysis of this material indicates that all stages of tool manufacture, from the procurement of the material to the finished tool, occurred in specific areas of the site. The presence of blood on an unwashed projectile point and flakes suggests that both formal and expedient tools were used for killing and butchering animals at the Kettering Park Site.


The document collection consists of original records in overall excellent condition, with minimal dirt and staining due to exposure in the field. The records are housed in two letter-sized archival clamshell boxes.

Excavation records include excavation unit reports and feature forms with associated plan and profile drawings, and unit summaries. Excavation unit records are organized by phase of excavation and then sequentially by unit number. Since duplicate unit numbers occur across phases of excavation; Phase III units are organized and labeled by unit number, followed by the year of excavation (1985). Records are present for 29 units. Feature records are included in the folder of the unit in which they appeared.

Other records include artifact and ecofact analyses, pedology and geomorphology reports, burial notes, provenience indexes, and artifact catalogs. These have been scanned as .PDF files and are not searchable. There is one report which is available online as a word searchable .PDF file: Archaeological Excavations at the Kettering Park Site (18PR174), Prince Georges County, Maryland, (Fogel et al 1994).

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, negatives, contact sheets, and prints, and are housed at the MAC Lab.


Epperson, Terrence
1979     Archeological Reconnaissance Of Central Avenue (Maryland Route 214) From The Capital Beltway (I-495) To Hall, Prince Georges County, Maryland. Report submitted to the Maryland State Highway Administration. File Report Number 150.
Fogel, Heidy, Dennis Knepper, and Michael Petraglia
1994     Archaeological Excavations at the Kettering Park Site (18PR174), Prince Georges County, Maryland. Report submitted to the Maryland State Highway Administration. Archaeological Report No. 78.

Digital Resources



Archaeological Report
Artifact Documents
Excavation Documents
Field Notes
Project Documents
Soil Documents
Specialized Analysis

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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.