Archaeologist Searh For War of 1812 Fort at Elk Landing

Maryland history straight ahead. Signs for Elk Landing, Fort Hollingsworth and the Maryland Archaeological Society Field-School mark the spot, along with one tossed in for the Cecil County Airpark.

Dozens of people from the Archeological Society of Maryland were at Elk Landing on this beautiful Sunday afternoon working to dig up new clues about Fort Hollingsworth and the pre-historic period at a strip of land located at the confluence of the Big and Little Elk creeks.  The former farm and Chesapeake Bay port bustled with activity as professional and avocational investigators carefully scrapped, swept and sifted the soil with small trowels, brushes and other hand-tools looking for the smallest fragments of evidence that might shed light on the past.  Under the careful supervision of professionals working with the Maryland Historical Trust, lots of people from all around the state were busy with these types of tasks, acquiring first-hand experience during the 41st annual Tyler Bastian Field Session.  The enthusiasts, which numbered near one hundred people in total during the school, had been at it for over a week.

George Reynolds the dean of Cecil County’s archaeologist has been conducted studies in the county since the 1950s. He opened this year’s annual field-school last weekend with a talk about exploring the Landing and the area in the first study 30 years ago.

A fortification was put up here to protect Elkton from a British attack during the War of 1812 and this is a central focus of this year’s investigation.  To help with spotting places for careful examination, ground penetrating radar had been used week’s earlier.  The students today were digging at those prime spots, in particular working a long trench where they carefully eyed changes in the soil strata while sifting for relic fragments long buried deeply in the ground.  Elsewhere there were clusters of students from Towson State University out in the old plow fields looking for pre-historic Native American artifacts.

In a period of over thirty years, the old farm soil has yielded many secrets as a number of digs have been done here.  Investigators have found material culture from pre-historic people, aboriginal burial grounds, bottles, arrowheads, cannon-balls, plenty of 19th century relics and lots more.  A formal report on this latest dig should be released by September, according to the principal investigator, Dr. James Gibb and the President of the Northeastern Maryland Archaeological Society. Dan Coates.

We’ll look forward to hearing that report as the soil at the Landing still contains many secrets.

Two members of the Maryland Archaeological Society carefully sift the soil looking for clues about Fort Hollingsworth, the War of 1812 redoubt.

Four archaeologist work in a trench where they’re searching for evidence related to the War of 1812 fort.


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