Overview of the Barton Site(18AG3)
The Barton site, formerly a part of the John Barton farm, was purchased July 26, 2002 by The Archaeological Conservancy of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Established in 1980, the Conservancy is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation's remaining archaeological sites.
The Conservancy’s property is a 30-acre portion of a multi-component site, known as the Barton complex, located on the floodplain of the Potomac River in Allegany County, just east of the Allegheny Front. The site is located in a large cultivated field bounded on the north by the Rt.956 bridge spanning the North Branch of the Potomac River, and on the west by the Western Maryland railroad.
This site is part of a series of prehistoric sites that extend for more than a mile along the upper terraces of the Potomac River and contain artifacts dating from the Paleo-Indian period to Contact times. The Barton site represents a model for the comprehensive study of the regions prehistory. It provides the opportunity to trace the development of prehistoric societies from their roots in the earliest Holocene settlements, through the development of a hunting and gathering way of life to the emergence of village-based horticultural societies by the 1400’s. It also allows investigation of the effects of European contact on groups inhabiting the region.
Field research on the Barton site is designed to contribute new data to the regional chronology, subsistence, settlement patterns, technology and social organization. It is anticipated that many of the components encountered during this investigation can be placed in sequential order, as this landform appears to have been settled continuously for at least 12,000 years.
Research themes include settlement patterning,environmental changes and internal functioning of prehistoric camps including food procurementand subsistence strategies. In addition, resident versus non-resident population influence, aboriginal toolkit production, hearth-based activities, residential mobility and regional interaction.
Summer field sessions are normally 10 days in June with selected weekend sessions continuing into the Fall to further develop selected units. Field Session announcements are posted on this site. Email the Chapter for further information.
This year the Archeological Society of Maryland held its 40th annual field session at the Barton Site in combination with Towson University Archaeological Field School with the assistance of members from the Western Maryland chapter of ASM.
Under the supervision of Dr. Robert D. Wall, over 90 people participated in the 11 day excavation. Those working the multi-component Indian village site ranged from cub scouts with no previous exposure to archeology to seasoned veterans with over 30+ years experience. The goal of this year’s dig was to continue ground-truthing the magnetometry survey conducted at the site two years earlier by Tim Horsley of the University of Michigan. Dr. Horsley visited the field session to consult on the progress of the excavations and assist with interpreting the site data.
Three areas of the site were targeted this year. In the northern area a Page (1200 AD) palisade was cross-cut by a one-meter trench. At the south end another Page palisade was reveled adjacent to the previously excavated Keyser village (1400 AD). In the Susquehannock village (1600 AD) along the river, two two-meter units were opened. Both of these squares were filled with features from the Page and Susquehannock occupations, containing a wide variety of interesting artifacts.
Once again the field session continued to show the richness of The Barton Site. People from throughout Maryland and the surrounding region were able to experience the thrill of discovery and to learn of the long occupation by prehistoric people along the upper Potomac River.