Bald Friar Petroglyphs

In this photograph, some of the petroglyphs can be clearly seen outlined in white (probably chalk).

Among the more enigmatic artifacts curated at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab are fragments of prehistoric rock art. Archaeological evidence of art dates back tens of thousands of years and has been an endless source of fascination for scholars, as well as the general public. The carved Venus of Willendorf figures, the painted bison at Lascaux, Chinese bronzeworks and other early artistic endeavors captivate and excite the human imagination. The recent discovery of 40,800 year old stenciled hands and painted dots in a Spanish cave is evidence that Neandertals may have been the first cave painters (Than 2012); it is almost certainly only a matter of time before future discoveries push the limits of early art even farther into the past. Continue reading

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Plate

In the classic 1946 Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, asks Uncle Billy “You know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are?” While Uncle Billy has decidedly different ideas, traveler at heart George’s answer was, not surprisingly, “anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.” Like George, the imaginations of many a would-be traveler have been stirred by the haunting sounds of a train speeding through the night.


Portrait of Charles Carroll III.

Maryland was home to one of the first train systems in our nation—the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad—a claim to fame that inspired this first Maryland by the Object post. Ground was broken in Baltimore for the B&O on July 4, 1828, when Charles Carroll III, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, helped lay the cornerstone for what was to become America’s first Common Carrier Railroad. Continue reading

JPPM Blog Takes a New Direction

For the past four years, Jefferson Patterson Park in Museum has hosted a blog entitled “Dirty Little Secrets.” We have enjoyed bringing you news of happenings at the park, about artifacts in the MAC Lab collections and about objects that have come here for conservation. But starting next week, our blog will take a new and exciting direction. Its focus will be on archaeological artifacts and how they help reveal the larger stories of Maryland’s past. Most of the artifacts highlighted will be from the collections of the Maryland Historical Trust, but upon occasion we will feature guest bloggers writing about artifacts curated at other institutions. Because the blog’s focus is changing, we are also changing its name to “Maryland History by the Object.” Continue reading

April is Maryland Archeology Month—No Fooling!

2013 Maryland Archeology Month booklet that highlights the diagnostic website and archaeology activities for 2013.

2013 Maryland Archeology Month booklet that highlights the diagnostic website and archaeology activities for 2013.

For many years, April has been designated as Maryland’s Archeology Month. During this month, the public can enjoy the number of free events that focus on the state’s rich archaeological heritage. Here at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, we celebrate the opening of our annual public season, as well as Archeology Month, with an event called Discovering Archaeology Day.

This year, the free event will be held on April 20 from 10 AM to 5 PM. Visitors can enjoy a variety of hands-on activities sponsored by archaeological organizations around the state, visit an ongoing excavation at an eighteenth-century plantation site and take tours of the MAC Lab. Continue reading