The Beehive Site (18HO206) is a stratified, Late Archaic quarry-related extraction site in Howard County, Maryland. It served as a short-term lithic resource procurement and processing site, due to the availability of quartz and quartzite cobbles from a nearby stream bed, and also as a temporary campsite. The Beehive Site covers a terrace and floodplain adjacent to an unnamed tributary of Shallow Run.
Cobble quarries have been studied infrequently in this region, so the Beehive site reveals important information about this type of site. Its artifact collection can be used to address questions of local and regional lithic procurement strategies, lithic technology, and settlement patterns.
A walkover reconnaissance during a 1992 Phase I survey by Goodwin and Associates for a proposed wetland mitigation project along Route 100 identified the 4.6-acre Beehive Site. Fifty-eight shovel test pits, each measuring 50cm in diameter, were excavated on a grid at 10 or 20 meter intervals across the site. The pits were excavated in 10cm arbitrary levels within natural strata. All soil was screened through ¼-inch mesh. Phase I testing revealed the presence of undisturbed, multi-component contexts below the plow zone.
In June 1993, Phase II investigations were conducted by Goodwin and Associates at the Beehive Site. Fourteen one-by-one-meter units and four one-by-two-meter units were excavated within the proposed wetland mitigation area, where a sub-plow zone level was detected in the Phase I survey. These units were excavated in 10cm arbitrary levels within natural strata to a minimum of 30cm or 60cm into sterile soil. In addition, a 50cm diameter shovel test was excavated in the base of each unit to check for the presence of any additional buried cultural strata. Twenty-five percent of the plow zone in the 15 one-by-one-meter units on the floodplain was screened through ¼-inch mesh. All the plow zone from the seven one-by-one-meter units on the terrace and all sub-plow zone soils were screened through ¼-inch mesh. Soil samples for macrobotanical analysis were collected from the sub-plow zone strata in the southwest corner of each unit. In addition, soil samples were collected for a geomorphological reconstruction of the site.
Goodwin and Associates subsequently conducted Phase III excavations at the Beehive Site between June 22 and November 4, 1994. Ten one-by-one-meter and three one-by-two-meter units were excavated at intervals between the Phase II test units. A trench was mechanically excavated to study stratigraphic relationships between the terrace and floodplain, and a 20m by 40m area on the terrace was mechanically stripped of its plow zone to look for cultural features. Four blocks containing 58 one-by-one-meter units were placed on the floodplain to sample activity areas encountered during earlier investigations. All cores, bifaces, and projectile points were piece-plotted when possible, and distinct clusters of flakes and cores were classified and excavated as features. All soil was removed in either 5 or 10cm intervals within natural stratigraphy, and was dry or wet screened through ¼-inch mesh. Six activity areas identified as the remains of primary reduction activities were found on the site.
Over 22,000 artifacts were recovered from the Beehive Site. This assemblage consists almost exclusively of lithics, with quartzite as the predominant material.
For Goodwin and Associates’ analysis, quartz referred to crystalline varieties in which no individual grains were detectable under low (10x) magnification. Quartzite was characterized as metamorphosed sandstone in which individual grains could be detected under low magnification, but without individual structural identity.
The artifact assemblage is dominated by lithic debris related to core preparation and reduction from local cobbles, the production and use of flake tools, and biface production from large flakes, thin cobbles, and cores. It appears that Native Americans were utilizing quartz and quartzite cobbles in the nearby stream to produce expedient stone tools. Therefore, lithic artifacts recovered from the Beehive Site include unmodified flakes and shatter, blade-like flakes, core and core fragments, and bifaces. The majority of the bifaces recovered from 18HO206 were discarded on the floodplain during the early stages of tool production.
Lithic procurement was not the only type of activity that occurred at the Beehive Site. A limited number of non-reduction activities were inferred from the types of artifacts recovered. The presence of hammerstones, finished bifaces, Bare Island and Piscataway projectile points, flake tools, fire-cracked rocks, an anvil/nutting stone, an abrader, and an unidentified groundstone tool indicate that a short-term camp was also present. Evidence of wood/bone-working and hide and/or meat processing was found on flaked tools from edge damage/wear, edge angles, and protein residue analysis. Two utilized flakes tested positive for animal protein residue, one being associated with rabbit blood. Unfortunately, poor preservation of faunal materials and macrobotanical remains limited the amount of environmental data available about the Beehive Site.
The record collection is comprised entirely of photocopies housed in two letter-sized archival clamshell boxes; the original documents were retained by the consulting firm, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc. The documents are generally in good condition, although some are difficult to read due to the faintness of the photocopy. Further, although most documents are two sided, it cannot be determined whether the entire collection was copied without error.
The Phase III excavation records are organized by excavation block; within each block, records are then organized by unit. Feature records have been separated by block and arranged numerically. Records for Phase II test excavations are organized by year and then by unit number. Records exist for 38 Phase II test units and 50 Phase III excavation units, and include level forms, feature forms, plans, and profiles.
Daily field journals exist for the 1993 and 1994 test unit excavations, as well as for Blocks A and B. They have been scanned as .PDF files and are available online, although not searchable. Other .PDF files include STP data, site maps, artifact catalogs, elevation records, and photo, unit, feature, and field specimen logs. Several bound reports as well as one unbound preliminary report are included: Phase III Archaeological Data Recovery at the Beehive Site (18HO206) Howard County, Maryland - draft vol. 1 and 2, final vol. 2 (Maymon et al, 1996); Phase II Investigation of Sites 18HO203 and 18HO206 for the Proposed Maryland Route 100 from I-95 to I-97 Wetland Mitigation Project Howard County, Maryland (Polglase et al, 1994); Phase IB Intensive Archeological Survey of Maryland Route 100 Wetland Mitigation Sites, Beehive and Schultz Farm Properties, Howard County, Maryland. (Barse, 1993).
Photographs taken on-site or in post-processing are available through the online database, and are searchable using the above criteria. Researchers should note that images are not linked directly to specific documents, and photo records do not necessarily exist for all features or units. Original images consist of slides, negatives, prints, and contact sheets. All records are housed at the MAC Lab.
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