Archaeologists Find Colonial Site in MD

On Monday, March 22, Maryland archaeologists found St. Mary’s fort. Maryland archaeologist, Travis Parno, was on vacation, taking a break from his research of the colonial fort at St. Mary’s. The colonial fort was discovered by archaeological geophysicist Tim Horsley by using the estimates of archaeologist Travis Parno. The St. Mary’s colonial site was constructed in Southern Maryland by white settlers in 1634, which makes it one of the earliest colonial sites in Maryland. The search for the colonial site has lasted for 90 years as many archaeologists have been searching for the fort since the 1930’s. 

Horsley’s scans showed living spaces, several that may have been for Native Americans. The palisade was about 12 to 16 feet high. The settlement of St. Mary’s fort was later abandoned when the capital of Maryland was moved to Annapolis in the 1690’s. Since then, the site seemed to be untouched or undisturbed. The site was Maryland’s first capital and was home to the first statehouse. Parno stated it was a turning point for Maryland’s colonial history, “It also marked a massive moment of change for the native people in this region.” He goes on to say, “Archaeology in this area shows us people have been here for at least 10,000 years,” reported the Washington Post. 

In 1990, experts found three remains in coffins near the same area. Maryland’s colonial governor, Philip Calvert, his first wife, Anne, and his 6-month-old son, were found in the three coffins. 

Jesuit priest, Father Andrew White wrote, “Sasquasahannockes … [who] come sometimes upon them, and wasted and spoil them and their country.” This may hint that the site was built on existing Native homes. The Yaocomaco were relatively close to the fort and its people. Parno was a bit surprised that the description of the fort did not match Calvert’s 1634 description. 

The archaeologists were able to identify and find the outline of the first European settlement in 1634. 

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