Annapolis, the capital of the state of Maryland, has only looked the way it does now for roughly 50 years. Over the years, the small city that was once based on a water-borne economy has been transformed into an urban center based on tourism and state government. What currently exists in the Annapolis Historic District is due to years of historic preservation spearheaded by Historic Annapolis Foundation and the efforts of city government.
The historic setting that is enjoyed by thousands each year is built on understanding provided by archaeology, the photographic history of many buildings, and the examination of the architecture of the Historic District. When uncovered through archaeology, the many small fragments of material remains left behind tell a remarkable story of past Annapolitans' lives, hopes, and aspirations. These stories are all the more remarkable since some of this information has long been lost or forgotten.
The Eastern Shore, an agricultural center for the state, provides a look at a different aspect of Maryland's history. Through archaeology at the Wye House Plantation and the nearby town of Easton, we uncover stories of slavery and freedom.
Archaeology in Annapolis has made its goal the uncovering of voices of those who have been left out of popular histories. It is well known that gaps exist in the surviving body of written records. These gaps result in a limited range of materials with which to piece together the past.
One of the unique advantages of doing historical archaeology in general is that we are able to incorporate a wide variety of materials to try to create fuller, more inclusive histories. We generally have a thorough history of political elite and we are contributing to a fuller telling of the range of experiences and lives of a variety of residents past and present.
With these issues in mind we invite you to tour several of our past archaeological excavations offered in this web-based education guide. Click on any of the locations in the menu to join in the rediscovery of several of the less well-known aspects of our history.