History in the making.
As Maryland turned 387 in March, a momentous discovery came to enlighten us of its colonial past!
Historic St. Mary's City has unearthed the state's original colonial settlement. The museum confirmed Dr. Travis Parno, Director of Research and Collections for HSMC, and his team discovered the fort constructed by early settlers back in 1634. The decades-long project started back in 1971 but gained renewed traction in 2018 with the help of additional funding and a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust.
In a statement, Governor Larry Hogan commented on the "truly exciting news" the site's discovery yields in its ability to help Marylanders understand the state's colonial past, as well as its present, and future.
“The state has been proud to support the study of St. Mary’s Fort and looks forward to further excavation of the area as we approach our state’s 400th anniversary,” Governor Hogan said.
The fort, which is the size of a football field, was the state's first prominent colonial settlement, comparable to European sites like Jamestown and Plymouth. According to the museum, 150 English settlers traveled by boat—the Ark and the Dove, respectively—before arriving on the land that would later become Maryland. The land was stewarded by the Yaocomaco tribe before the arrival of settlers. The tribe was related to the Piscataway tribe, who resided north of the Potomac River.
Since much of the fort's existence remains a mystery beyond colonial records, researchers hope to glean more insight into its history, particularly the relationship between indigenous peoples and settlers. A broader project is poised for 2021 titled People to People: Exploring Native-Colonial Interactions in Early Maryland. A partnership between the museum and the Piscataway tribe, the project will entail archaeological excavations and public exhibitions all year long.
The archeological finding is impressive in its own right, but the fact that it also dovetails with Maryland's birthday cannot be understated.
What do you think of this incredible discovery by Historic St. Mary's City? Let us know in the comments.