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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Edward Otter, 08/1994
The National Archives Site
Inventory No.: PG:66-36
Date Listed: 8/22/1996
Location: 8601 Adelphi Road, , College Park, , Prince Georges County
Category: Site
Period/Date of Construction: 4000-1500 B.C.
The nomination is marked Not for Public Access. Qualified Medusa accountholders should please contact the MHT Librarian for a copy.
Description: Prehistoric occupation of the National Archives Site took place during the Late Archaic period, c. 4000-1500 B.C. Stone artifacts recovered through archeological testing indicate that this camp served as a place of stone tool manufacture and probably as a staging point for hunting and foraging. Physical integrity of the Late Archaic component is high, with little plow disturbance or admixture with artifacts from other periods. The topography is characterized by two intermittent streams that have encroached onto the level land surface, separating a rather flat hilltop wedged between two gullies. The site lies on a gentle slope at elevations of about 190 to 210 feet above sea level. Vegetation at the site consists of a young hardwood forest with dense ground cover of poison ivy, greenbrier, and small oak and poplar trees. The soils are deep and well drained, and sometimes have high percentages of clay in the subsoil. Evidence of the Late Archaic period derives from typological analysis of recovered artifacts. The only temporally diagnostic prehistoric items known consists of two projectile points: a quartzite Clagett point (found on the ground surface) and a quartz Vernon-like point (excavated from a B-horizon soil circa 20-30cm below ground surface. While a small quantity of 19th or 20th century artifacts are also present, the majority of artifacts, especially those in the lowest soil strata, are lithic flakes of prehistoric age. Testing at this camp recovered over 400 stone artifacts, approximately 94% of which are unutilized flakes and shatter. It appears that the primary reduction of quartzite was one of the main manufacturing activities. The presence of a small number of other artifacts, including the projectile points, a spokeshave, and utilized flakes, indicates that the site also served in other hunting and foraging pursuits. Significance: The National Archives Site is one of a relatively small percentage of known prehistoric properties in Maryland with undisturbed archeological deposits. It contains a possible "living" (occupation) floor that could provide new data on intrasite settlement patterning. The presence of an apparent single component at this site is also significant, since it may permit more controlled research on Late Archaic lithic technology and adaptation to an essentially modern Holocene environment.


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