Terrestrial Archaeology

Archaeologist shows volunteer the notching in a projectile point at the Chapel Branch West Site. Archaeologist shows volunteer the notching in a projectile point at the Chapel Branch West Site.

The Terrestrial Archaeology Program at Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) carries out land-based excavations and lab research throughout the State of Maryland to inform the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP).

A major component of the Terrestrial Archaeology Program is the Annual Field Session in Maryland Archaeology. This cooperative venture with the Archaeological Society of Maryland runs 11 days (inclusive of weekends and the Memorial Day holiday), and is open to the public.  The purpose of the field session is to train lay persons in archaeological methods and teach Maryland’s past through hands-on involvement, while making meaningful contributions to the study of Maryland archaeology.  In the past the field session studied sites as varied as prehistoric campsites, an historic Indian village, an 18th century plantation, and a Revolutionary War shipyard. Public participation is encouraged, both in the field and in the lab.

In addition to the formal field session, as a part of the ongoing survey and testing programs at MHT, volunteer assistance is occasionally needed to help with fieldwork and site visits. If you are interested in these occasional volunteering opportunities please contact Dr. Matt McKnight at (410) 697-9572 or fill out the webform on the Public Programs page.

Throughout the year, the Terrestrial Archaeology Program also sponsors or co-sponsors public educational activities, including an annual Workshop in Archaeology  and Maryland Archeology Month.

For more information on the field session, workshops, and other educational and volunteer opportunities, see the Public Programs section of this website.

In addition to the research and public programs described above, the Terrestrial Archaeology Program issues permits for archaeological investigations on state-owned or state-controlled lands, and provides oversight of MHT-grant-funded archaeology projects undertaken on land.

Another aim of the MHT Terrestrial Archaeology Program is to take the data from major projects and make it accessible. MHT’s Archaeological Synthesis Project was developed to move data from dusty shelves of grey literature to readily available information useful from both research and compliance perspectives.

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