Brochure 1 - Society for American Archaeology

Brochure 1 - Society for American Archaeology

Projectile Points at Site


Data recovery investigations indicate that Philip’s

Meadow was occupied during the Early Archaic,

Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, and Early and Late

Woodland, with heaviest occupation during the Late

Archaic as indicated by large numbers of Vernon/

Halifax and Clagett bifaces.

Recovery of more than 30,000 lithic artifacts

permitted consideration of research issues on

prehistoric technology. Native Americans at the

Philip’s Meadow site relied on a lithic technology

based on locally collected quartz and quartzite

cobble. Tool classes are dominated by discarded

projectile points, unfinished bifaces, and cores,

suggesting that tool manufacture was a major site

activity, consistent with the large quantity of flaking

debris recovered.

Raw materials for the 41 Vernon/Halifax points

(3500-2300 B.C.) at 18CH654 include quartz,

quartzite, and single examples of black opaque

chert and tan opaque chert.

Data recovery excavations found four examples

of Late Archaic Savannah River points: two with

concave bases and two with bases that were

unworked and essentially straight. Raw materials

for these points include two examples of rhyolite,

and one each of quartzite and gray opaque chert.

One quartz projectile point was classified as either a

Lamoka or Lackawaxen biface, based on a narrow,

elongated blade and expanding stem, resulting in

overlap with both the Lamoka and Lackawaxen Late

Archaic biface types (circa 3000-1500 B.C.).

A single possible Calvert point of quartz recovered

from 18Ch654 bears similarities to the type

description and illustration by Stephenson and

Ferguson: a short, wide triangular blade with a

nearly parallel-sided stem and flat base (circa

1200-1000 B.C.)

Top: Dalton Point, possible

Hardaway Blade; Middle-Kirk

Corner-notched points; Bottom-

Kirk Stemmed points.

Vernon/Halifax Points. Blade

reworking may represent

occasional use of these Vernon/

Halifax points as hafted knives.

Top-Holmes Points, Lamoka/

Lackawaxen Point, Calvert

Point. Bottom-Savannah River

Stemmed Points


Recovery at

Site 18CH654

At the most

basic level,


at the Philip’s

Meadow site

make clear the

importance of


Creek to Archaic

Native American


During the Late

Archaic, Native

Americans were

drawn to these

valley bottom

settings, fronting

newly formed

wetlands along


Creek, probably

by the availability

of animal or

plant food

resources but

also by available

lithic resources.

For More Information

Contact Lori Frye, RPA


GAI Consultants, Inc.


...transforming ideas into reality ®

Close-interval test unit excavations.

Data Recovery at

Phillip’s Meadow

Site 18CH654

Cove Point

Charles County, Maryland

Clagett Points.

Data Recovery at Prehistoric Site 18CH654

Prehistoric Site 18CH654


GAI conducted staged field investigations, including:

5 meter close-interval shovel testing, systematic and

test unit excavation, and soil stripping in targeted

portions of the project area to expose cultural

features below the plowzone. Close-interval shovel

testing recorded a nearly continuous distribution

of prehistoric stone artifacts, and determined

the full east-west extent of the Philip’s Meadow

site. Subsequent test unit excavation was initially

distributed across the entire site, but ultimately

focused in higher density areas.

Tasks during this stage of field investigations

included tree cutting, machine stripping of topsoil

followed by shovel skimming, and mapping and

feature excavation.

Overview of Site 18CH654.

Overview of feature excavations

after topsoil stripping.

Excavation of Level 1, which

produced single examples of

Calvert and Vernon/Halifax

bifaces, and a quartz tempered

cordmarked sherd.

Why Data


Phase III Data Recovery

Investigations were

conducted at prehistoric

archaeological Site

18Ch654 (the Philip’s

Meadow site) to resolve

adverse effects to this

National Register of

Historic Places-eligible

site from construction

of the proposed Cove

Point Expansion TL-532

Pipeline Project.

GAI’s Phase I/II survey of

the Cove Point Expansion

corridor demonstrated

the southern extension

of Site 18Ch654 into the

TL-532 right-of-way and

showed that the Philip’s

Meadow site could not

be avoided by a pipeline

reroute in the immediate

site vicinity.

Since avoidance was not

feasible, GAI conducted

Phase III data recovery

investigations to resolve

adverse effects from

project development.

Prehistoric Tools

By definition, bifaces as an artifact type exhibit percussion

or pressure flaking on both faces and represent the most

numerous artifact class at Site 18Ch654 (522 specimens).

The analysis subdivides these artifacts into projectile points,

drills, and choppers (“finished” bifaces); early, middle, and

late-stage bifaces (“unfinished bifaces” or presumed point

manufacturing rejects); “other” bifaces, and indeterminate

biface fragments. Groundstone tools suggest on-site

woodworking activities, and the cobble tool inventory,

dominated by hammerstones, appears largely representative

of toolstone reduction.

Early-stage Bifaces

Drills, likely used to drill

bone, antler, wood

Retouched Flakes

Large Quartz Endscrapers

Investigations at the Philip’s Meadow site, and complementary data at sites such as Clifton (18Ch358) and Rowe (18Ch47), clarify the importance of Mattawoman Creek to Archaic

Native American groups. Native Americans were drawn to these valley bottom settings, fronting newly formed wetlands along Mattawoman Creek, probably by the availability of

animal or plant food resources but also by available toolstone resources. The similarity of Site 18Ch654 to many findings upstream at the Indian Creek V site, suggest Late Archaic

Native Americans were practicing these settlement trends across much of the Potomac Valley. Future research on other Archaic components in Charles County will ultimately

clarify the role of major interior wetlands in Late Archaic land use patterns in the Middle Potomac Region, as well as how Late Archaic settlement adaptations varied across the

broader Potomac Valley.

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