The Discovery Site (18FR694)

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Project Location: Frederick County

Project Date: 2001

The Discovery Site (18FR694), located near the town of Walkersville, was well known to local collectors for decades.  In fact, several MAS members reported collecting artifacts from the plowed fields when they were young boys.  The site came to the attention of the other members of MAS who took an interest in the site.  In 1994, the site was recorded with the State by member Bob Newbury and a number was officially assigned at that time.

Over the years, the members kept a watch on the area and collected artifacts when they were observed after plowing.  Out of concern over the rapid pace of development in the local area, a study was undertaken to determine the limits of the site’s boundaries and to further investigate it for additional data (since it was on private property and would not be protected if developed).

In 2001, members of the Chapter conducted limited field investigations.  The investigations were directed at determining site limits outside the plowed fields where artifacts, only up to that point, had been collected.  Prior to the shovel test survey, a surface examination of the tilled field was undertaken, and numerous artifacts were recovered.  A minimal-impact study consisted of excavating eight shovel test pits in a wooded area next to the field to examine soils’ profiles and presence/distribution of artifacts.  A datum point was established, and all shovel test pits were excavated within a grid quadrant.

Prehistoric artifacts were recovered in seven of the eight shovel test pits excavated.  This study expanded the previously assumed limits of the site boundaries and revealed that the site was undisturbed in the wooded section.  A total of 114 artifacts were recovered from the test pits that included a projectile point, 96 rhyolite flakes, 5 quartz flakes, and 2 flakes of unknown material.  In fact, Shovel Test Pit 7 yielded the majority of the rhyolite flakes recovered (N=44).  The majority of the cultural material collected in the past, along with the artifacts found during the 2001 study, suggest that the site was utilized during the Archaic Period and to a lesser degree during the Middle Woodland Period.

A total of 68 historic period artifacts were also found in the shovel test pits which was not considered unusual as the area had been utilized for farming for generations.  The artifacts consisted of nails (N=14), miscellaneous metal (N=4), brick fragments (N=15), ceramics (N=3), glass (N=26), and buttons (N=2).

The information derived from the excavations was useful in that it provides an update to the Maryland Site Survey form for the site and will help researchers in the future.   In addition, the information will be on file if developments are proposed in the area where the site is located.