Uncovering Maryland's buried past Archaeology: History in the spotlight for April as experts show that artifacts could be as close as your own backyard


April 03, 1997|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

Let the digging begin!

Actually, it already has begun and will go on as Maryland Archeology Month continues through April.

"The whole idea is to raise awareness," Silas Hurry, one of the organizers, says. "In fact, our theme is 'The Past in Your Backyard.' Archaeology is a very democratic process. Everyone makes trash. And making trash is making an honest record of the past."

This is the second year for Maryland Archeology Month.

"In the three years preceding, there were archaeology weeks but then we just had too many activities going on," Hurry says.

Louise Akerson, another organizer, says there are activities for the professional and anyone else who has an interest.

"We have loads of things going on," Akerson says. "It will be a busy month."

A emphasis is always placed on getting children, the future archaeologists of the world, involved. But for the first time, a poster contest for children is part of the activities.

"We distributed the information through the library and sent it to public and private schools," Akerson says.

The artwork, which had to focus on the theme, had to be accompanied by written statements describing how the posters illustrated Maryland's past through archaeology. Students also had to demonstrate some knowledge of Maryland's archaeology history.

"This is the very first time we are trying this because education is important. "The grand prize includes a free day to dig at a field session at a historic site and a $50 savings bond.

Another highlight is the all-day symposium on archaeology held at the People's Resource Center, 100 Community Place in Crownsville this Saturday. "This is for the general audience, as well as for people who might be specifically interested in the Civil War and people interested in the Underground Railroad," Akerson says.

Just a few of the other activities going on around the state:

The Ring Factory Site Excavation. This is field work and laboratory opportunities for the general public, including children. There will be surveying and mapping, shovel testing, and test excavation of the Ring Factory site. The laboratory work will be cleaning, recording and preservation of recovered artifacts. There will also be informal lectures and demonstrations.

This will be held on each Saturday in April at the Harford Glen Environmental Center in Bel Air and is sponsored by the Harford County Archeology Society, the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center and the Historical Society of Harford County. (Call 410-939-0768 for directions and more information.) It is free but call ahead to reserve a space.

The Backyards of Baltimore. This is a workshop to learn how archaeologists, historians and museum curators gather a wide range of material to create stories about the past. This is also geared toward families. It will be held on April 13 at the City Life Museum's Blaustein Exhibition Center, 33 S. Front St., and is sponsored by Baltimore City Life Museum's Center for Urban Archaeology. Museum admission gets you into the workshop. The cost for adults is $6, seniors $5 and children $4. (Call 410-396-3277 for more information.)

Uncover the Backyards of Oxford. This will be a group dig on April 19 and 20 in the Eastern Shore town and is sponsored by the Historical Society of Talbot County. Two Oxford sites are being considered and researched, with one site possibly dating to the 17th century. (Call 410-822-0773 for further information).

Children's Workshop in Archeology. Designed specifically for children ages 9 to 12, this activity is sponsored by Historic St. Mary's City. It will be a hands-on event at the site of the state's first capital. The cost is $5 and reservations are required. (Call 1-800-SMC-1634 or 301-862-0990).

The Dig In! Paleontology and Archeology for Kids of All Ages. This workshop is at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons. Participants will dig in the sand and follow clues to learn the identity of bones and artifacts. It is free with museum admission of $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for children 5 to 12. Children under 5 and museum members are free. (Call 410-326-2042.)

Public Dig Day at London Town. This event is sponsored by the Lost Towns Project and takes place April 19 at London Town House and Gardens in Edgewater. (Call 410-222-7441.)

A number of organizations and agencies collaborate to sponsor Maryland Archeology Month, says Hurry, who works for Historic St. Mary's City.

The month is jointly sponsored by the Council for Maryland Archeology; the Archeology Society of America; the Office of Archeology, Maryland Historical Trust; and the Maryland State Highway Administration.

For general information on Maryland Archeology Month, call the Maryland Historical Trust, Office of Archeology, at 410-514-7661. The Maryland Archeology Month calendar of events is available on the World Wide Web on the Maryland Historical Trust home page at: http://www2.ari.net/mdshpo/am-cal.html.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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