MHT File Photo
Chestnut Grove Road, , Bethel, , Garrett County
The Meyer site is located on the riverside edge of an alluvial bottom on the west side of the North Branch of the Potomac. The known limits of the site extend about 200 feet along the river and 100 feet back from the bank. Test excavations in 1958, 1964, and 1966, by H.T. Wright and Frank R. Corliss, Jr. revealed a deep plowzone of dark-brown sandy humus containing artifacts. Underneath the plowzone is light-yellow, sandy subsoil which is apparently sterile of cultural remains. However, the subsoil is intruded by pits and depressions which contain artifacts. Some of the pits appear to have been dug for storage of food, but they were later filled with debris. One deep pit was lined with river boulders which were covered with a thick layer of charcoal; it may have been an oven. Four pits contained burials of young persons; one infant was accompanied by a shell-tempered pot. Structural remains are indicated by alignments of post molds, but the extent of the test excavations was too restricted to enable a determination of the size, shape, and purpose of the structures. Artifacts recovered from the excavations include triangular arrow points, flaked stone knives and scrapers, beads cut from bird bones, canine tooth pendants, a bone fishhook, grinding stones, grinding slabs, sandstone disks, a clay bead, a clay pipe fragment, many ceramic sherds, bone refuse, and shell fragments.
The Meyer site is the uppermost Late Prehistoric village known on the North Branch of the Potomac. It is most closely related to the Monongahela Culture of the Upper Ohio Drainage area, including sites on the Youghiogheny River in Garrett County. It is less closely related to known sites lower down the Potomac and elsewhere in central and eastern Maryland. The available ceramic sample from the Meyer site suggests that there were two discrete occupations by Late Prehistoric Monongahela Culture, the earlier being indicated by features containing predominantly limestone-tempered pottery, and the later being indicated by features containing predominantly shell-tempered pottery. The site will be particularly important in determining how and why the Monongahela way of life spread across the Appalachians at the expense of the Late Woodland cultures who previously occupied the area. The site’s relatively small size and good preservation make it suitable for extensive future study and should enable a relatively complete reconstruction of the way of life of the Indians who once lived at the site.