Tag: Herring Run Park

Archaeologists return to Herring Run Park this spring

The Herring Run Park archaeology project is back for a second year of field work at site of Eutaw Manor from Saturday, April 23 to Sunday, April 30. If you want to join the dig as a volunteer, you do not need any previous experience with archaeology. Please go sign up online today to pick the dates that work best for you. You can expect to hear back from the project team within the next two weeks with more details on the spring schedule.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.
Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.

Local archaeologists (and northeast Baltimore residents) Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus started the search for remains of the former country estate in Herring Run Park back in 2014. Last spring, Jason and Lisa worked in partnership with Baltimore Heritage and the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable on a week-long dig that brought dozens of volunteers and over a hundred visitors to Herring Run Park to learn about the history of the site and join in the hands-on search for Baltimore history. You can read their Field Notes from Herring Run chronicling the exciting finds on our blog.

This year, you can follow the dig on the dedicated Herring Run Park Archaeology project website and Facebook page. You can also buy a 2016 field season t-shirt to show off your support for the dig and help raise funds for equipment, supplies and outreach materials.

Sign up for updates on Herring Run Archaeology

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If you are interested in bringing a school group to the site for an hour-long field educational field trip, please contact Jason and Lisa by email herringrunarchaeology@gmail.com. We are also planning a community open house on April 30 where anyone interested in the project is welcome to come out and learn more about the dig.

Last chance to renew your support in 2015!

With just hours left in 2015, we still need your support. Our members, volunteers, and partners made 2015 a remarkable year for preservation in Baltimore. You can help us make 2016 even better. Please become a member for the very first time or renew your generous support today.

Donate now

As the new year begins, we also invite you to join us for a few fun tours, walks, and community events organized by our friends and partners:

  • Druid Hill Park First Day Hike, January 1, 2016, 9:00 am to 11:00 am: Start a new tradition on New Year’s Day by starting the year off on the right foot, left foot or any foot. Join the Friends of Druid Hill Park for their 2nd Annual First Day Hike in Druid Hill Park! – $10 per person
  • Historic Lauraville Walking Tour, January 2, 2016, 2:00 pm: Join the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable and Eric Holcomb for a historic walking tour in Lauraville starting at Zeke’s Cafe.
  • Herring Run Archaeology Hike, January 3, 2016, 2:00 pm: Meet at Hall Springs on Sunday afternoon to join local archaeologists, Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer for a hike in the Herring Run ending at Zeke’s Cafe.
  • Preservation Town Hall: Baltimore, January 4, 2016, 6:30 pm: Join Preservation Maryland at this open, town hall-style meeting to learn about local, state and federal advocacy efforts to help save places that matter and how you can be a force for reinvestment and redevelopment. RSVP on Facebook!

Thank you to everyone who supported Baltimore Heritage in 2015. We hope you have a happy beginning to the new year and that we see you soon in 2016.

Photograph courtesy Alex Fox, 2015 April 12.
Stone Hill Walking Tour. Photograph courtesy Alex Fox, 2015 April 12.

Volunteer in the lab for Herring Run Park Archaeology

When most people think about archaeology, they think a project is over when the digging is done. In reality, every hour spent on archaeological fieldwork requires as many as twenty hours back in the lab cleaning and processing artifacts. Herring Run Park project archaeologists Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer are headed to the lab in August and September to clean and process the artifacts recovered during our archaeological dig this past spring. Please come out to join us as a volunteer!

No prior experience is required to participate. Working in the lab is a great way to learn more about how archaeologists identify and analyze artifacts whether they are broken pieces of brick or delicate shards of pottery. The lab work will take place on Saturday afternoons, 12:00pm to 3:00pm, between August 22 and September 26 at the Natural History Society of Maryland at 6908 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21206.

Space for volunteers is currently limited to five people on each date so sign up soon with your interest. If we are not able to match you with a volunteer opportunity this fall, please stay in touch—we hope to offer additional dates later in the year. You can also learn more about the project from our series of “Field Notes from Herring Run” shared by Lisa and Jason during the dig.

Photography by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.
Photography by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.

Field Notes from Herring Run: Finding valuable information in a 150-year-old burned down house

Thank you to everyone who came to visit or volunteer at our archaeological dig in Herring Run Park last month. For our final Field Notes entry from the 2015 field season Lisa Kraus and Jason Shellenhamer shared a recap of what we were searching for and what we found. We’ll be looking for more volunteers to assist with processing the artifacts this summer so please sign up for project updates or get in touch with questions and suggestions.

Archaeologists Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus, 2015 May 9.
Archaeologists Jason Shellenhamer and Lisa Kraus, 2015 May 9.

Last month, we worked with and a team of volunteers completed the inaugural field season of the Herring Run Park Archaeology project. The focus of the investigation was Eutaw Manor. Eutaw Manor was the late 18th-century retreat of William Smith. Smith’s country estate spanned all of present-day Herring Run Park between Belair and Harford Roads as well as portions of Lake Montebello.

Portrait of William Smith and His Grandson, Charles Wilson Peale, 1788. Courtesy Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Portrait of William Smith and His Grandson, Charles Wilson Peale, 1788. Courtesy Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

In the 19th century, the estate and manor house became the home of Smith’s grandson, Benedict William Hall and his descendants. During their ownership, the property was improved to include a hotel, two mills, several tenant farms, and the Eutaw Methodist Church. In 1865, the Eutaw Manor house burnt to the ground as a result of an accident during a christening dinner.

Nearly 150 years after manor burned, archaeologists and volunteers from all over Maryland and greater Lauraville rediscovered this lost piece of local history. During the nine-day excavation, archaeologists and volunteers uncovered the remains of the home’s foundation and explored portions of the extensive cellar.

We recovered numerous artifacts during the excavation of the Eutaw Manor House including materials from the house itself. In addition to the foundation of the 60 by 60-foot house, numerous nails, window glass, and bricks were recovered from within the cellar hole and in the yards surrounding the home. Other artifacts included numerous fragments of tea and tablewares as well as tobacco pipe fragments, food remains, and glassware.

Burned plaster from Eutaw House, Herring Run Park Archaeology. Photograph by Lisa Kraus, 2015 May 11.
Burned plaster from Eutaw House. Photograph by Lisa Kraus, 2015 May 11.

While the fire that destroyed the house occurred over a century ago, the scars of that event were still evident. Much of the material recovered from the site bore evidence of the fire. The pottery was blackened, the glassware melted, and scorch marks on the foundation walls and the plaster showed evidence of smoke damage. Over the course of the excavation, it became apparent that many of the ceramic dish fragments recovered from the site were likely pieces of the very dishes the Hall family set out for their christening dinner on the last night the house stood. Although none of these fragmentary items has any monetary value, their worth in providing valuable information about the occupants of the house will be immeasurable.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.
Post hole for veranda on west side of the manor. Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.

Other discoveries from the site included the possible remains of the Eutaw kitchen, an oyster shell trash pit, and support posts for the large veranda that was once attached to the west side of the manor house. Another surprising find was a sizeable collection of pottery and other artifacts that suggest the site of the Eutaw Manor house was likely home to an earlier residence that predates the ownership of William Smith and his family; a home that might date to the 1750s or earlier.

Photography by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.
Photography by Eli Pousson, 2015 May 13.

The project was a remarkable success, and would not have been possible without the support of our amazing partners: the Northeast Baltimore History Roundtable, Baltimore Heritage, the Friends of Herring Run Parks and a generous grant from Preservation Maryland. Most importantly we want to thank you, the greater Lauraville community, for you ongoing interest in the project, generous support, and the hard work of our nearly 60 volunteer archaeologists who helped us learn a little more about our community’s past.

While the excavation is over for this year, there are more volunteer opportunities to come. Starting in late July, we will announce days and times when we will be washing and sorting the hundreds of artifacts collected from Eutaw Manor. If you didn’t have a chance to join in last month’s excavation, this will be an opportunity to get to see and touch all the interesting objects discovered in Herring Run Park!