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Archaeology in Annapolis

Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

May 28, 2013 to July 5, 2013

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of Maryland

Project Director:

Dr. Mark Leone

Project Description

Archaeology in Annapolis is a partnership between the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Historic Annapolis Foundation. Begun in 1981, the Archaeology in Annapolis project has been concerned with promoting better understandings of Annapolis’ diverse past through the interpretation of material culture. Since 2000, Archaeology in Annapolis has also worked on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at William Paca’s 1792 plantation on Wye Island, as well as at Wye House, the home of the Lloyd family and where Frederick Douglass—at five or six years old—found he was a slave.

This intensive, six-week field school devotes eight hours daily to supervised archaeological fieldwork, laboratory work, stratigraphic analysis, technical drawing, writing and interpretation. The summer 2013 excavations extend a long-term program of public archaeology in Maryland’s state capital that is supported by the Mayor and City Council of Annapolis. This year excavations will be conducted in the City of Annapolis, and outside the City of Annapolis at Wye House, the former plantation of Edward Lloyd on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, on Maryland's Wye River.

Skill development will focus on: soil identification and description; accurate record keeping and photography; artifact identification and cataloguing; understanding of site formation processes and reconstruction of site stratigraphy; basic surveying and mapping; elements of site report production (e.g., background historical research, reconstruction of site stratigraphy, production of unit summaries and familiarity with professional standards and guidelines for conducting and reporting on fieldwork and laboratory analysis); and public interpretation through participation in the AiA Blog.

This year, excavations will be conducted in two locations: residential streets in the historic district of Annapolis and outside of the city, at the former plantation of Edward Lloyd on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, on Maryland's Wye River.

Wye House is the former plantation where Frederick Douglass was enslaved as a boy, and is described in his autobiography, My Bondage, My Freedom. Research questions at this site focus on the lives of enslaved people on the plantation. Excavations in 2011 located two previously unidentified slave quarters, and we will continue to investigate the buildings and their yard spaces. Intensive excavations at this site began during the summer of 2006, and since that time the remains of five structures associated with enslaved people on the plantation have been excavated.

Enrollment is limited to 20 students at either the graduate or undergraduate level. While there are no formal prerequisites for the field school, at least one introductory course in archaeology is recommended (at the University of Maryland, this would be ANTH240, Introduction to Archaeology). Physical ability to engage in field work is essential, and any student currently in good standing at a college or university is eligible to apply.

Interested students must register for either ANTH 496, Section 0101: Field Methods in Archaeology (six undergraduate-level academic credits), ANTH 696, Section 0101: Field Methods in Archaeology (six graduate-level academic credits), or a summer workshop (which has a slightly reduced tuition rate but does not provide a student with transferrable credits). Admission and registration materials are available through the University of Maryland, Office of Extended Studies.

Public archaeology, urban archaeology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Room and Board Arrangements

The field school meets daily in the field for approximately eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. The daily starting time will probably change over the course of the summer, depending on the weather, and students should be flexible. Students are responsible for their own transportation to the field school site (approximately 60 miles round trip from the University to Annapolis and 120 miles round trip from the University to Wye House) and living accommodations in the Washington, D.C./Annapolis area. The teaching staff will facilitate carpooling from College Park, so if you have questions about transportation please do not hesitate to contact us. A waiver of liability will be required by the University of Maryland before a student can participate in field work and/or laboratory work at any of the sites.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
University of Maryland
Number of credits offered 6 undergraduate or graduate
$1,790*/ $3,250* undergraduate/graduate


Contact Information
Katherine Deeley, Benjamin Skolnik, Beth Pruitt, Dr. Mark Leone
Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, 1111 Woods Hall
College Park