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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Archaeology of Montgomery County, Maryland

Yesterday we had the third session of this course and our second field trip. These first two field trips were both near the Potomac River, and yesterday's was just upriver from Pennifield Lock. We walked through the woods to a rock shelter, a small cave about 13 feet deep where archaeologists have discovered artifacts that go back to 3800 BCE. It became an official archaeologic site in 2002, but locals have obviously known of it for years because in addition to the old arrow heads and other stone tools a .22 bullet shell and a 1990 penny were also found.

Last week's trip was a visit to a historical archaeological site where almost 20,000 Union troops were stationed during the Civil War at Muddy Branch creek. We saw the site of a block house on a buff overlooking the river where the troops kept an eye on Confederate activity on the other side. There was Confederate activity on the Maryland side as well causing Lincoln to put the state under martial law to keep it from seceding. The area is heavily wooded now, but I had to continually envision how it looked at the time, all open fields.

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