Skip to Main Content

Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Wayne Clark, 08/1974
Brinsfield I Prehistoric Village Site
Inventory No.:
Date Listed: 5/12/1975
Location: Dorchester County
Category: Site
The nomination is marked Not for Public Access. Qualified Medusa accountholders should please contact the MHT Librarian for a copy.
Description: The Brinsfield I Prehistoric Village site lies on the bank of a river, at the edge of a broad, flat plain. The major concentration of ceramics and oyster shells is located within 300 feet of the river. The site was first identified by Perry S. Flegel of the Sussex [County, Delaware] Society of Archaeology & History in March of 1955. A small 2-foot test pit excavated by Wayne Clark in 1974 revealed a 9" plowzone containing shell, fire-cracked rock, and shell-tempered Rappahannock Fabric-Impressed pottery. The sandy subsoil was sterile of cultural debris. A second test excavation in the site’s southern wooded section revealed an undisturbed soil profile consisting of 12" of a mature humus layer resting on a 1" shell layer which divides the A and B soil horizons. Artifacts were absent. This 1" shell layer was probably destroyed in the cultivated area as suggested by the surface scatter of shell. The ceramics are similar to a series of reported types from sites on the Delmarva Peninsula. The earliest component produced a grit-tempered ware which occurs with greatest frequency on the northern surface of the site. One sherd with crushed quartz and ceramic temper is net-impressed. Grit-tempered sherds are generally accepted to predate the shell-tempered sherds of the Townsend series. Rappahannock Fabric-Impressed and Incised pottery types are the majority ware of the Townsend series found on the site. Jasper and quartz pebbles were the source of material for the majority of lithic artifacts although rhyolite does occur. One brown jasper triangular and one quartz corner-notched projectile point were observed. Significance: The Brinsfield I Prehistoric Village site is a late prehistoric archaeological site characterized by shell-tempered pottery and triangular projectile points. The wooded extremities of the site's northern and southern boundaries have apparently escaped cultivation. The relatively undisturbed condition of the site may enable meaningful controlled surface collections and excavations to determine house type and community type settlement patterns, subsistence activities, and other culturally related aspects of prehistoric life on the eastern shore of Maryland during the Late Woodland period, ca. A.D. 900-1500.


Return to the National Register Search page