Biggs Ford Site
Retreat Road, , Frederick, , Frederick County
The Biggs Ford site is a large, relatively well preserved, multicomponent, late prehistoric Indian village site near the Monocacy River in central Frederick County, Maryland. Brief testing was conducted c. 1955 when a few refuse-filled pits were found below the plowzone. Test excavations were conducted by the Maryland Geological Survey in 1969 and 1970 to assess the impact of a proposed pipeline. Several dark, refuse-filled pits and numerous post molds were exposed by removal of plowzone in a 7 x 230m road grader trench. A few post molds were cross-sectioned, and all other features within the trench were excavated. Possible palisade portions, house sites, 10 graves, and a number of refuse-filled pits were identified. Ceramic analysis indicates two principal late prehistoric ceramic wares: grit-tempered Shepard Cord-Marked and crushed river mussel shell-tempered Keyser Cord-Marked. No contact artifacts were found at Biggs Ford. Other ceramic types included several sherds of steatite-tempered Early Woodland Marcey Creek plain. Most of the projectile points recovered were triangular unnotched points of rhyolite or quartz. About a quarter of the projectile points are broad-stemmed or shallow side-notched types probably dating to the Middle Woodland period. Organic remains in the pits included charred corn, deer and turkey bones, and turtle. Turtle shell bowls, bone awls, marginella shell beads, and a fragment of discoidal were also recovered. The artifacts indicate two different components. The earlier component (Montgomery Focus) includes elongated pit features, large triangular rhyolite points, grit-tempered pottery, and many of the round pits. On the basis of ceramics, this may date to between A.D. 900 and 1300. The later major component (Luray Focus) includes all of the burials, some of the round pits, small quartz triangular points, and shell-tempered ceramics. This component may date to between A.D. 1300 and 1500.
The well-preserved Biggs Ford site is one of the few known large village sites in the Monocacy Valley. Only a small part of the site has been excavated. The site exhibits relationships with the Potomac, Susquehanna, and the Ohio valleys. The two major Late Woodland components at the site largely can be separated on the basis of ceramic wares and village layouts. The excellent preservation of all aspects of the archeological record makes this one of the most important sites for understanding Late Woodland cultural development in the riverine basins of the Piedmont province.