Field School

The University of Maryland's Department of Anthropology and the Office of Extended Studies announce the continuation of the Archaeology in Annapolis Project with a Field School in Urban Archaeology, running May 29-July 6, 2012. The field school is directed by Dr. Mark P. Leone, with the assistant directors Kathryn Deeley, Benjamin Skolnik, and Beth Pruitt.


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 2012 excavations extend a long-term program of public archaeology in Marylandís 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.

Field Trips

Students will tour a selection of sites excavated to date by Archaeology in Annapolis throughout the quarter-mile historic district of Annapolis within the context of the broader project and its goals, research design, and accomplishments. Arrangements will also be made to visit gardens and landscapes associated with former plantations on the Eastern Shore where possible.

Summer 2012 Excavation Sites

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. At one location, we will be excavating at the James Holliday House. James Holliday was born a slave in Anne Arundel County in 1809 and was freed in 1819. He began working for the US Naval Academy in 1845, and purchased the property in 1850. Research questions at this site center around the Holliday family and Annapolis' free African American community.

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. 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.


Orientation and introductory lectures will be delivered by Dr. Mark P. Leone, Kathryn Deeley, Benjamin Skolnik, and Beth Pruitt. They will explain the field schoolís relationship to the larger Archaeology in Annapolis project, discuss the broad research goals of the project, its theory, and how archaeology is used to achieve these goals. This project overview provides the backdrop for the summer 2012 investigations. Throughout the course, project-specific goals are linked to major research themes and issues in historical archaeology. There will be lectures on excavation techniques, note taking, recording, drawing and artifact identification and analysis. Basic laboratory skills will be taught in a field lab.

Students are responsible for reporting to the site each day and contributing to the field work, lab work and ensuing discussion as each progresses. Students will complete weekly reading assignments that address the methods and theories of recent historical archaeological research. Readings will familiarize students with the history of Annapolis and the Chesapeake, with the site-specific histories of the areas under investigation, and with the accomplishments and discoveries produced in the course of the past 30 years spent excavating in the City of Annapolis. Students will gain a tangible appreciation for the contribution of historical archaeology to a fuller understanding of the past, whether it be associated with the 18th-century elite, their enslaved labor force or the lives of 19th- and 20th-century tenant farmers, craftspeople, laborers and their families. Students will review their assignments at a weekly discussion led by project staff. There will be weekly site seminars where students will share progress in their excavation unit with others so that an understanding of the whole is always in sight.


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.

Additional Logistics

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.

Contact Information

For further information, contact:

Kathryn Deeley (
Benjamin Skolnik (
Beth Pruitt (
Dr. Mark Leone (

Department of Anthropology
University of Maryland
1111 Woods Hall
College Park, MD 20742-7415