Archeology for Annapolis
Archaeology for Annapolis began in 1982, an idea of St.Clair Wright. This program was a new idea, the concept of investigating several properties on one large historic site, the city of Annapolis, over a long term and using the data as one large pool of information. Archeology for Annapolis revolutionized the field of historic archaeology and is regarded as a fundamental advancement to the concept of American archaeology.
Archeology for Annapolis
The collection of data from so many sites has lead archaeologists to be able to deduce social history from small things found at archaeological excavations. American archaeologists now include anthropology in their research designs and this program is sited in many basic archaeology texts as the model to follow.
The social structure of the town was studied through the archaeological remains and the written documents. The interest in society led the program to investigate the homes of the wealthy, businesses, churchyards and the dominion of the African Americans and other poor. The poor people left no written records so a study of the material remains of the common people is the best way to learn about their everyday lives and their places in the society.
Historic Annapolis Incorporated sponsored and administered the program with funding first from the city of Annapolis and later also from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The city provided a laboratory and a laboratory supervisor. The scientific expertise came from the University of Maryland in College Park. The students who excavated the sites in Annapolis came from the Masters in Applied Anthropology program at the University of Maryland, under the overall supervision of Dr. Mark Leone. Dr. Leone has recently written a book, The Archeology of Liberty in An American Capital published in 2005 by the University of California Press detailing his work and his theoretical findings from the years of excavations.
Another laboratory for analysis was located at the University of Maryland in College Park so the students who dirtied their hands shoveling and troweling in the back gardens and cellars of 18th century buildings also got to see the washed, sorted, numbered artifacts and participate in the analysis. This archaeological field school (learning on the job, so to speak) provided experience and education for students from 1982 through 2004.
Many of the artifacts found are today cared for by the Historic Annapolis Foundation and are displayed in the St.Clair Wright Center at 99 Main Street.
Site reports, a detailed report of objects found and their exact context in each excavation, for each property are all available for reading at Historic Annapolis Foundation. Dr. Leone lists them in his book along with the location of the excavated artifacts today. Some of the places that were investigated include the land on State Circle, the Brice House, the Ridout House on Duke of Gloucester Street , John Shaw the cabinetmaker’s premises on State Circle, Gott’s Court before the city built the parking garage on it, 172 Green Street, Jonas Green’s house on Charles St and his printing establishment on Francis St, sites within the Naval Academy, and even the Carroll family tomb in St. Anne’s churchyard. And of course, the Paca House and Garden were extensively excavated; this is discussed in more detail on this site in the section on the Paca House.
Jonas Green House
Jonas Green came to Annapolis in 1738. He was a third generation printer who was apprenticed to Benjamin Franklin. He and his wife Anne Catherine Green and their fourteen children lived on Charles Street. Jonas published the Maryland Gazette from 1745 until his death in 1765 when his wife Anne Catherine took over editing and publishing the Gazette. In 1775 their son Frederick became the printer; by this time the Gazette had moved from their home to premises on Francis Street. The Francis Street print shop was also the city post office for a time.
Archaeological excavations at his print shop turned up the stamp of the death’s head that Green made for the October 10, 1765 issue of the Maryland Gazette in which his editorial deplored the effects of the Stamp Act on the Colonial press: a deathblow.
The Maryland Gazette was published until financial difficulties caused its closure in 1839.
Jonas and Anne Catherine Green house, Annapolis, MD
For Further Reading
- The Archeolology Of Liberty In An American Capital: Excavations in Annapolis by Dr. Mark Leone, published by the University of California Press 2005
- Annapolis Pasts edited by Paul Shackel, Paul R. Mullins and Mark S. Warner, published by The University of Tennessee Press/ Knoxville 1998.
- Earth Patterns: Essays in Landscape Archeology edited by William M. Kelso and Rachel Most published by University Press of Virginia, 1990. The article by Mark Leone and Paul Shackel, Plane and Solid Geometry in Colonial Gardens in Annapolis Maryland, discusses the original city plan of 1695 and the geometry of both William Paca and Charles Carroll of Carrolton gardens.