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Archaeological Sites


Thousands of years of history...

The Cultural Resources Section conducts archaeological research, survey, and implements the County Code to preserve significant archaeological sites. It also offers many hands-on volunteer and learning opportunities throughout the year.  Sign up for our newsletter and mailing list if you want to learn more about our volunteer opportunities or events. Read more below about our Preservation Stewardship Program and learn about how you can help protect the places that matter across the County.

 

  • Archaeology Preservation Stewardship Program

    Visit our main Preservation Stewardship Program page to learn about current opportunities.

    FIELDWORK: Want to learn what it's like to be an archaeologist? Volunteers and interns are invited to join Cultural Resources personnel on a variety of archaeology digs across Anne Arundel County. The County has over 1,700 archaeological sites, so locations vary depending upon the current research program and the seasons. Tasks may include digging, screening for artifacts, and documenting the excavations. Check out our field manual here. No Experience Needed. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

    LABWORK: The Anne Arundel Archaeology Laboratory, located on the campus of Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland, accepts volunteers and interns to help process artifacts, including washing, labeling, sorting, and cataloging. Check out our lab manual here. No Experience Needed. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Currently, the lab is open Tuesdays and Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. 

    --Volunteers must sign up here in advance for a morning or afternoon shift.--

    The lab follows current CDC and county health guidelines regarding capacity, social distancing, and mask use. 

    RESEARCH: Volunteers are also needed to assist with archival research both online and at the Maryland State Archives. Before beginning excavations at an archaeology site, one must research land records, census data, wills. probate inventories, and historic maps, all of which helps formulate research questions and better understand the historic context of these resources. In addition, archaeological and historical literature must be consulted as part of the research process.

    The Joan Cass Beck Collection, a special collection of the Anne Arundel Public Library System, contains hundreds of books, journals, and audio/visual materials that are housed at the Anne Arundel Archaeology Lab and at the Historical Preservation Research Library in the county's Division of Planning and Zoning. The library is open to the public for onsite research by appointment only and the books cannot be checked out. Call (410) 222-1318 for more information.

    Email Drew Webster at [email protected] for information on current and upcoming opportunities and to sign up. Learn more about the program by visiting our Preservation Stewardship page. Find additional resources below.


 

Anne Arundel County's Archaeology Laboratory & History Resources Center

lab

The County's Cultural Resources Section curates a collection of more than 6 million archaeological artifacts that speak to the history of the County. Additionally, the Cultural Resources Section operates an archaeology museum at Historic Londontown and Gardens and a publicly accessible archaeology lab. Click here to learn more!

 

  • How to Visit

    The lab is open most Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. by appointment. Our Lab welcomes volunteers to help process artifacts, including washing, labeling, sorting, and cataloging. No experience is needed; children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers must sign up here in advance for a morning or afternoon shift.

    The lab follows current CDC and Anne Arundel County health guidelines regarding capacity, social distancing, and mask use. As of February 22nd, masks are no longer required in County buildings. 

  • Collection Inquiries & Donations

    Contact us if you are interested in making a donation, wish to see some of the collection, are a researcher, or you are an archaeologist transferring collections as a result of a compliance project. To make an appointment for any collection inquiries, please contact the Lab manager, Jenn Babiarz, at [email protected] or call the lab at #410-222-7486.

    Please see below to find additional forms and information.

    The lab follows current CDC and Anne Arundel County health guidelines regarding capacity, social distancing, and mask use. As of February 22nd, masks are no longer required in County buildings. 

  • Joan Cass Beck Special Library Collection at the Lab

    The Joan Cass Beck Collection, a special collection of the Anne Arundel Public Library System, contains hundreds of books, journals, and audio/visual materials that are housed at the Anne Arundel Archaeology Lab and at the Historical Preservation Research Library in the county's Division of Planning and Zoning. The library is open to the public for onsite research by appointment only and the books cannot be checked out. Call (410) 222-1318 for more information.

    The lab and office follow current CDC and Anne Arundel County health guidelines regarding capacity, social distancing, and mask use. As of February 22nd, masks are no longer required in County buildings. 


 

Archaeological Sites Review

Per Anne Arundel County Code Article 17-6-502 and 17-6-503, our office reviews each development project to determine the effect of the proposed action on significant archaeological sites. Each review determines whether there are known archaeological sites or a high potential for significant archaeological sites. Known sites are those that are listed on or eligible for the Maryland Archaeological Sites Survey and the National Register of Historic Places. A suite of historic maps assist in the evaluation of historic site potential. The location of known sites is generally kept as restricted access to prevent looting. If there are known archaeological sites or a high potential for significant archaeological sites, the subdivision applicant conducts a "Phase I" archaeological survey to determine the nature and number of archaeological sites. 

  • Learn more about compliance review here...

    With more than 1,300 sites, Anne Arundel County has more recorded archaeological sites than any other county in Maryland. Many more, however, remain to be discovered. The assessment of archaeological potential for unknown sites is generally based on topographic and environmental settings and known resources in the vicinity. Prehistoric sites are generally found within 500' of potable water (which may include extinct springs), on flat, well-drained soils, and in areas of ecological diversity. The highest potential for such sites is along the tidewater or the Patuxent and its tributaries. The same factors are operable for early colonial period sites. Later historic sites can be found in more wide-ranging locales such as farmsteads or homes along old roads or railroads.

    Archaeological investigations must be performed under the supervision of qualified professionals meeting standards outlined by the National Park Service in 36 CFR 800 of the National Historic Preservation Act. If archaeological sites are found as a result of a Phase I investigation, then the applicant, using qualified professionals, shall conduct further investigations to determine the level of significance. This is a Phase II investigation. If the sites are determined not significant, then the proposed development may proceed.

    If the sites are determined to be locally significant (i.e., have intact features and further information value), then the applicant shall revise plans so that development avoids the archaeological sites and a preservation easement shall be required. If you require more information, please feel free to contact our office.

    In the unusual event that preservation-in-place would prohibit fair use of the property, then additional work or mitigation may be required, i.e. an approved data recovery investigation prior to disturbance or destruction - this instance is called a Phase III archaeological mitigation. View a summary of these phases of investigation.  Find additional information, forms and guidelines below.

    If you have any questions, get in touch with the County's Archaeological Sites Planner, Anastasia Poulos, at [email protected] 


 

Archaeology Forms and Guidelines 

The Cultural Resources Section has a number of resources, guidelines, and forms available below for download related to compliance projects, the archaeological collections, and the Preservation Stewardship Program

Archaeological Collection Forms