Participants in SERC's public programs assist county archaeologists during an excavation on Contee Farm.

 

This story first appeared in the SERC quarterly Newsletter Summer 2007

Diggin' Around at SERC

Every morning, SERC employees drive to work along a mile of bumpy dirt road bisecting the former Java plantation, a colonial tobacco farm now known as the Contee Farm. On one side of the road lies SERC’s campus, on the other side, the remnants of the Contee mansion overlooking the Rhode River. Records indicate that two additional mansions may be buried beneath that same grassy knoll. Perhaps former slave quarters and a graveyard lay hidden nearby as well.

If these remains can be unearthed, they will paint a picture of human land use, and the impacts we've made on this patch of the Chesapeake Bay watershed for the last 320 years. To that end, remains of the colonial mansion and the grounds of the Java Farm are being excavated by archaeologists with the help of volunteers from SERC's public programs. "The site provides an excellent protected example of man’s use of the environment," said Al Luckenbach, Anne Arundel County Archaeologist in charge of the excavation.

The education department will use information gained through the project to expand our programs on the history of the land.

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For more information, please contact SERC science writer Kristen Minogue.