The Devilbiss-Fishing Creek Site (18FR145)

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Project Location: Frederick County

Project Date: 2001

The Devilbiss-Fishing Creek site is a large, well-known multi-component prehistoric archeological site in Frederick County.  It had been collected by many people over decades including several members of the Monocacy Archeological Society.

The site is situated on a level knoll located a short distance west of the Monocacy River and north of Fishing Creek.  The property where the site is located is owned by a member of the Monocacy Archeological Society.

The artifacts that had been collected from the site represented occupations from the Archaic through Late Woodland periods.  Most of the surface collected projectile points (N=150+) and debitage consisted of rhyolite, although a lesser number of artifacts were manufactured from chert, quartzite, and quartz.  A small assemblage of ceramics was also found that represent Woodland Period occupations.  Also found were a broken greenstone celt and a broken full-grooved axe.  Most of these artifacts were donated to the Maryland Historical Trust and are available for research at the Maryland Archeological Conservation Laboratory.

In 2001, the members of MAS were contacted by the property owner who reported that he intended to construct a house on his property that included a portion of the known site.  It was determined that, although the majority of the archeological site was located closer to the Monocacy River, archeological testing should be conducted to examine any intact cultural remains that might be impacted by construction.  With the owner’s permission and support, the chapter members conducted an excavation that was limited to the proposed footprint of the house foundation.

Members of MAS worked at the site over a period of a year (between 2000 and 2001).  A grid was established over a 60-feet by 30-feet area.  A total of 18 shovel test pits and 8 test units were excavated.  A total of 375 prehistoric artifacts were recovered (see Table).  The majority of artifacts consisted of rhyolite (N=292) and, to a lesser extent, quartz (N=67) and quartzite (N=16).  No features were found and most of the artifacts were found in the plowzone.  The site had continually been under cultivation for nearly 200 years which likely caused disturbance within the site area.

The section of the Devilbiss-Fishing Creek site that was excavated was only a small portion of a large and significant archeological site.  This site may have been a staging area for some of the groups visiting the rhyolite quarries on Catoctin Mountain via Fishing Creek.  It would have also been an attractive location for use as a temporary camp or hunting camp by groups travelling along the Monocacy River or Fishing Creek throughout the various cultural periods.