Second through fourth grade students from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth returned to JPPM this year and we were happy to treat them to all that the Park has to offer. They learned native skills at our Indian Village, experienced archaeology at the Smith’s St. Leonard site, and experimented with artifact treatment techniques in the MAC Lab. Checking out a room with 8 million artifacts just added to the fun. The staff enjoyed working hands-on with these bright kids and hope they all had a great time discovering JPPM!
Each year, archaeologists and volunteers discover more about JPPM’s 18th-century Smith’s St. Leonard tobacco plantation site – and there’s still so much to learn! Find out all about archaeology and the Smith family through hands-on excavation at JPPM’s most popular public program. C’mon and get dirty! This year, maybe YOU’LL be the one to find a tobacco pipe bowl, or a silver coin, or maybe even another cellar…We’re out in the field now, come join us! Continue reading
Recently, artifacts from Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation near Lynchburg, Virginia, have arrived at the MAC Lab. One of two homes that Jefferson designed and created for his own use, Poplar Forest has been designated a National Historic Landmark and the plantation house is operated as a historic house museum. Archaeological excavations on the property continue every year and the artifacts being treated by lab conservators are just a tiny sample of what archaeologists are discovering as they continue to provide information for the restoration of the rest of the plantation’s property.
Between 1765 and 1770, a 70 foot New England ship carrying a large cargo of British ceramics sank in what is now Biscayne National Park in Florida. Conservator Cait Shaffer has been treating several coral covered ceramic figurines from the ship, nicknamed the English China wreck, using chemical cleaning techniques as well as a sonic descaler (the same instrument your dentist may use to clean your teeth). Cait has made a fantastic time-lapse photography presentation showing the removal of the encrustations from one of the figurines, and you can see it by clicking here.
2 of the Biscayne Figurines:
Join us for JPPM’s free Public Archaeology program this summer! You can excavate, learn to identify artifacts and soil features, and chat with Park archaeologists about 18th-century life in the Chesapeake. This season, we will return to the Smith’s St Leonard site, an 18th-century tobacco plantation that includes a family residence, slave quarter, stable, detached kitchen and more! The program will run May 8th through June 30th. Excavations at the site will take place between 10am and 3pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (weather permitting). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can join the crew in the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory to learn more about the artifacts found in the field. If you would like to participate, please call Ed Chaney at 410.586.8554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum invites you to celebrate Discovering Archaeology Day 2012 on April 14th from 10am – 5pm. There will be lots of activities for you to enjoy. We’ll be offering guided tours of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory and demonstrations in the Indian Village. Be sure to visit JPPM’s 18th-century tobacco plantation site where you can see the ongoing excavation and talk to museum archaeologists. If you own something that you think is historical, but you’re not really sure, bring it with you and we’ll identify it for you. You will also have the opportunity to meet professional archaeologists from around the region, ask them questions, and enjoy their exhibits and displays. There’s something for everyone at JPPM and Discovering Archaeology Day!
Be on the lookout for archaeology events this month! Throughout Maryland, opportunities to attend lectures and exhibits, take part in hands-on activities and workshops, participate in children’s activities, and see excavations will be offered as Maryland celebrates Archeology Month!
Ahhh, but this one is DIFFERENT: it isn’t a storage pot with a flat base like the one from Lower Mason Island that we highlighted back in September, this Accokeek pot is from the Washington D.C. area and has a conical shape. Conical shaped pots were used for cooking in order to evenly heat the liquids and foods placed in them. They would have been placed directly into hot coals (or propped up by hot rocks) in order to slowly cook the food for maximum tenderness and flavor (tandoori chicken anyone?). Native Americans added temper (gravel, crushed shell or quartz, crushed fired-pottery, sand, or plant material) to the clay to help the vessels withstand the shock of any rapid temperature change during the cooking process. They also created their pots with very little deviation in the thickness of the pot walls in order to minimize any weaknesses in the vessel.
Our new conservator, Virginie, is working hard treating artifacts from Presidio La Bahia in Texas. A Spanish frontier fort, Presidio La Bahia (“Fort on the Bay”) saw six National Revolutions for independence and is the most fought over fort in Texas history. Previously, conservators at the MAC Lab treated several copper alloy kettles from the Presidio, and Virginie is now working on more “everyday” artifacts from the fort, including eating utensils and gun parts.
Curators not only have the responsibility of organizing and properly storing artifacts, they also often select objects for exhibit. And if the objects destined for display need cleaning or mending – well, sure, they can do that too. Curator Erin Wingfield is currently cleaning and mending a tin-glazed earthenware chamber pot to go on exhibit at The Todd’s Inheritance Historic Site, a property occupied by the Todd family from the late 17th century through the 1970’s. The chamber pot dates from the late 17th – to early 18th – century occupation of the site. Tin-glaze is both white and opaque, and Europeans from the 16th to the 18th centuries found that this glaze made a great base for decorating with colors such as blue, green, brown, purplish brown, and yellow.