Mount Calvert is a multi-component historic and prehistoric
site located on the Patuxent River in Eastern Prince George’s
County. The Maryland General Assembly established a small settlement
at Mount Calvert in 1684. The settlement later served as the first county
seat of Prince George’s County under the name of Charles Town
from 1696 to 1721. A courthouse, Anglican church, jail, and several
stores and ordinaries were established in the town during this time.
The county seat was moved to Upper Marlboro in 1721
and speculation about the future of the town ended shortly thereafter.
Mount Calvert was still used as a landing for oceangoing ships traveling
up the Patuxent River until the mid-eighteenth century, but without
the benefit of the court few people remained in the town after the 1720s.
Mount Calvert was a tobacco plantation owned by the
Brown, Burch, Brookes, and Berry families between 1774 and 1864. Hundreds
of enslaved African-Americans lived on the plantation during this time.
Mount Calvert continued to function as a private farm until the 1990s.
Today the property is owned and operated by the Maryland-National Capital
Park and Planning Commission as Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological
Archaeological testing and excavations completed between
1996 and 2008 have uncovered features and soil deposits dating from
several periods including the Archaic (8800-3000 BP), Woodland (3000-400BP),
Charles Town (c. 1690-1720), Tobacco Plantation (1780-1864), and Farm
(1865-1950). Most archaeological resources are located within 300 feet
of the Patuxent River.
Beall’s Gift. A controlled
surface collection and excavations in 1997 and 1999 at Beall’s
Gift resulted in the identification of two domestic sites. A possible
slave quarter site (ca. 1800-1840) was located during a controlled surface
collection in 1997. Subsurface testing has not been completed. Excavations
during 1997 and 1998 uncovered the remnants of an early eighteenth century
domestic site near the Western Branch terrace. A total of 32 5 by 5
foot units were excavated at the colonial site. Artifacts date the site
to the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Several features were
identified including a hearth, postholes, and a large intact midden.
James Moor (1700-1704) or James Stoddart (1704-1713) probably occupied
Beall’s Gift. The layout of the site has not been determined.
Terrace Site A. Shovel testing
and excavations completed in 1997 and 1998 identified a domestic site
near the Patuxent Terrace. Artifacts recovered from the site suggest
an occupation between 1700 and 1720. The site was probably used as a
dwelling and ordinary while the court met at Charles Town. Block excavations
in 1998 identified numerous features including boundary ditches, posts,
and a large artifact-filled borrow pit/cellar. The layout of the site
has not been determined.
Terrace Site B. An unidentified
structure was located through testing and excavation in 1997 and 1998.
Very few features were uncovered during the excavations but artifact
analyses indicate that the site dates between ca. 1700 and 1715. Few
domestic artifacts were recovered from the excavations.
Terrace Site C. Excavations
during 2000 and 2007 uncovered a 20-foot wide structure near the confluence
of the Patuxent River and the Western Branch. The building contained
a large 8 by 12 foot cellar with a hard-packed clay and ash floor, and
an entrance on the southwest side. The structure was probably used as
a dwelling and ordinary during the first quarter of the eighteenth century.
Tracy’s Ordinary. A
controlled surface collection completed in 2006 identified a concentration
of pipe stems, bottle glass, and ceramics near the road on the southwest
side of Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park. Historical
research indicates that this was the former site of Charles Tracy’s
ordinary (ca.1695 to 1698). Subsurface testing has not been completed.
Summary by Michael T. Lucas
|Lucas, Michael T.
||“att Pig Pointe Upon Mount Colverte” A Phase I Archaeological
Survey of Mount Calvert (18PR6). Report
submitted to the Maryland Historical
Trust, Corwnsville, Maryland.
||“Negotiating Public Landscapes: History,
Archaeology, and the Material Culture of Colonial Chesapeake
1680 to 1720”, PhD diss. The University of Maryland.
|Lucas, Michael, with contributions by Donald Creveling,
Erin Donovan, Michelle Niedzwiadek, Sara Rivers, and Matt Cochran
||“att Pig Pointe Upon Mount Colverte” Phase
I and Phase II Archaeological Testing of Mount Calvert (18PR6),
Volume 2. Report submitted to The Maryland Historical Trust,
The Mount Calvert archaeological collection
is owned and curated by the Maryland-National Capital Park &
Planning Commission, Prince George’s County.