Welcome to the Anne Arundel Hall Replacement Project!
We have just launched a new website for an archaeological project that began in May, 2010. The project team consists of eight people, all of whom are trained and experienced excavators. For months we have been discussing ways to share information with the public, friends, family and anyone who has an interest in historical archaeology. Please explore the website to find blogs, project information, current discoveries, and other interesting tidbits! We are all excited about the website so that we can share our story with those who don’t live nearby, or are stuck in their office working, or are too afraid of us to ask questions while they skip around our dirt piles on their way to class.
This project is a multi-year effort to conduct an archaeological investigation on property slated for development at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. The sites we will be working on cover approximately 12 acres, but are on two sides of a highway (MD Route 5). The most intensive work is occurring on the old part of campus, where two large brick buildings that were constructed in the early 1950s sit. The largest structure, Anne Arundel Hall, is currently home to the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department, Publications, and Art Studio space.
The fieldwork portion of this project should take us through 2013. The project team feels that throughout that time, this website can provide an opportunity for anyone interested to learn more about our work, and we are excited to be able to have our project accessible to the public. As students have returned, it seems that there is a lot of confusion over who we are and why we are here, and we look forward to being able to explain that to a wider audience.
Please stop by on a regular basis for updates! We look forward to sharing our project with you.
-Ruth Mitchell, Senior Staff Archaeologist
The Archaeological Project
Several major developments vital to fulfilling the distinct missions of Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) are planned on two locations within the National Historic Landmark. HSMC has grown out of and beyond the current Visitors’ Center, known as the blue barns complex located on Rosecroft Road. The Research and Collections Department, where HSMC’s archaeology lab is located, has exceeded all available space for storage and processing. SMCM seeks to update and expand its classroom space, as well as solve a persistent parking problem. Jointly the two institutions wish to foster development of a scholarly community by placing the HSMC Research Department in the same new facility with the SMCM Anthropology Department and Museum Studies Program. The synergy created will provide benefits to both institutions.
To accomplish this goal, two college buildings will be replaced with new structures. Anne Arundel Hall will be torn down and Margaret Brent Hall will be relocated to a new site. In their place, a new Anne Arundel Hall complex and a new Visitor’s Center will be built on the site. The new facility for HSMC visitors is named the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center (MHIC). As these actions will eliminate three current parking lots on college property, an expansion of the college lot at the Campus Center into the Mill Field was agreed upon. Both locations, the Anne Arundel Hall site and the Mill Field area contain numerous resources important to the national Historic Landmark. The original construction at the Anne Arundel site in the 1950s has impacted some of these resources, but testing has shown that significant portions remain. The Mill Field contains a number of sites which have not previously been impacted, aside from agriculture. In both cases, the project has made preservation a top priority and adverse impacts to the resources will be minimized as much as possible.
The project area lies within some of the first land settled by Maryland’s colonists. It is located a few hundred feet from the original landing site in St. Mary’s City, where currently the Muldoon River Center is located. The earliest written reference to the land is dated to 1641, when 100 acres were surveyed and patented for Leonard Calvert. This tracts was “a Parcell of Town Land lying nearest together about the fort and Commonly called the Governor’s Field”. A serious effort at developing St. Mary’s City began after Lord Baltimore formally incorporated the town in November of 1668. One of the main town roads, Middle Street, was located on the east side of town. It extended from the boat landing to the town center. Several properties were constructed along Middle Street, but their exact locations remains unknown. A portion of the 17th-century Middle Street once ran through where the current Anne Arundel Hall sits. Several excellent articles on St. Mary’s City history can be viewed at http://www.stmaryscity.org/Articles.html