Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from day 5 of the Herring Run Archaeology Project. You can find their updates on our blog, the project website, and on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the project email list to read these posts in your inbox.
Today we passed the halfway point of the 2016 field season, and the amazing discoveries continue. Building on the success from yesterday, we continued to explore the location of the earliest European occupation of the site.
We opened several more test units and, while we have not yet discovered any foundations or structural remains of the circa 1690 home of the Broad family, we continue to find the traces of their presence through the artifacts they left behind. The amazing find from that portion of the site was a beautiful french gunflint discovered by volunteers Ilka and Rosa.
Back at Eutaw House, we continue to complete excavating several unfinished units with the house’s cellar. Today we completed a unit near the northeast corner of the house where we discovered a large collection of bricks on Saturday. During the excavation today, we recovered a large collection of clothing and other personal items including beads, jewelry, and buttons of every make and type: bone, shell, glass, copper and iron. We also found a Belgian one cent piece that dates to 1845 and a pipe stem manufactured by Jan Prince the Netherlands from around the same time period.
At the bottom of the unit, we made yet another interesting discovery, a flagstone floor! This is the only section of the house to have a built floor. All other areas of the cellar contained only a dirt and bedrock bottom. The presence of the abundant brick, stone floor and variety of buttons leads us to think that this portion of the house may have served as the Eutaw house’s laundry and the workplace of several of the family’s enslaved men and women including Venus Tilghman.
Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from day 4 of the Herring Run Archaeology Project. You can find their updates on our blog, the project website, and on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the project email list to read these posts in your inbox.
Today was a very exciting day! Up at the manor house, we identified a new architectural feature—a possible gravel pathway—which may help us answer one of our more pressing questions: which way did the house face? In the Peale painting of William Smith and his grandson, the house appears to face west, but it is difficult to tell. With this new feature and other clues, we hope to piece together a more complete picture of the house and grounds.
In other news: from the very beginning, we’ve found traces of an earlier occupation at the site, and we know that John Broad and his family occupied from 1690 (and likely earlier) through the 1740s. Today, we’ve finally found intact deposits associated only with this earlier occupation!
We know very, very little about life in this region at that time, so this is a tremendous discovery—and this makes Eutaw the earliest historical archaeological site in Baltimore City to date!
Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from day 3 of the Herring Run Archaeology Project dig. You can find their updates on our blog, the project website, and on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the project email list to read these posts in your inbox.
The work at Eutaw continues on Day 3 of our second field season. By the end of the day we completed excavation in three new areas on the perimeter and interior of the former plantation dwelling. Testing in all the units within the house’s former cellar continue to produce similar artifacts that one might expect from a house that burnt down in 1865 such as nails, brick, mortar.
However, each area we explore in the house also produced several distinct groups of artifacts that are not found in other areas. These subtle, yet important distinctions have allowed us to start a preliminary reconstruction of the location and uses of various rooms within the former farm house.
For instance, all of the expensive white, gold leaf porcelain dinner plates and tea service have been found near the northwest corner of the home, but those same artifacts are absent elsewhere in the house. Given that a dinner party occurred at the time of the house fire, it seems likely that the presence of those ceramics in that area alone may suggest the location of the family’s formal dining room, or at at the very least a pantry where the family kept their formal sets of dinner service.
Other locations we explored so far provided other insights into the uses of other areas of the home, including the formal front entrance, kitchens, and side entrances.
Thanks to Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for this update from April 23 and April 24—the first weekend of digging with the Herring Run Archaeology Project this spring. You can find their updates on our blog, the project website, and on Facebook. You can also subscribe to the project email list to read these posts in your inbox.
Our second season of fieldwork has begun, and we’ve already made some fantastic discoveries!
We’re exploring more of the Eutaw manor house, and have now firmly identified a second building that was likely the kitchen. We’ll be continuing to explore these two structures tomorrow, but we’re also hoping to begin excavation of the possible stable and slave quarter we’ve tentatively identified nearby.
In the manor mouse, we’ve finally located one of the chimneys, and have found some interesting artifacts, including a 1773 half penny, numerous decorative pieces of window hardware, a beautiful piece of an 18th-century hand-blown wine bottle, a 19th-century pipe bowl, and too many other things to mention.
At the end of last year’s fieldwork, we identified what appeared to be a second, smaller structure just west of the Manor House. We’ve now identified it as an out kitchen, a small building separate from the main house where food was stored and prepared.
This was likely one of the two smaller buildings depicted in the painting of Eutaw by Charles Wilson Peale (circled in yellow in the detail above). We’ll be posting more updates as the fieldwork progresses, and hope to see you in the field!
We happy to publish this special guest post from Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer who are leading an archaeological dig in Herring Run Park for the second year this spring. Hope to see you at the dig!
After last year’s successful dig, we are excited to start our second season of archaeological fieldwork in Herring Run Park on April 23. If you are interested in learning more about the dig, please join us for our Archaeology Open House in the park on April 30th to share our discoveries—we hope you can join us!
What are we looking for in Herring Run Park?
Last year, we located the site of Eutaw—the manor house of Baltimore merchant William Smith. This year, we are looking to learn more about a series of buildings found on mid-19th century maps just down slope from the Eutaw Manor house (we’ve been referring to these as “The Mystery Buildings”). With the help of project intern Aiden Ryan and volunteer Knuppel-Gray, we decided to dust off our screens and shovels, strap on our boots, and start a fun afternoon of exploration.
Thanks to the forty people who signed up to volunteer during the week long dig this spring we are expecting a full week of fieldwork starting on April 23. If you are interested in learning more, please come out and join us at our open house on Saturday, April 30, anytime from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
We’ll be offering guided tours of the site starting at 10 a.m., and there will be opportunities to talk with the team and see the finds from the week of work in the park.
The Herring Run Archaeology Project is organized in partnership with the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable, Friends of Herring Run Parks, Archaeological Society of Maryland, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, and Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.