- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 14, 2003

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Archaeologists will start digging next week near Frederick for evidence of what could be the largest community of slaves found in Maryland, the National Park Service said yesterday.

The suspected “village” of as many as 90 slaves is on the Monocacy National Battlefield, just south of Frederick, on a plantation the federal government acquired in 1993, said archaeologist Joy Beasley, the park’s cultural resource manager.

The biggest slave villages previously unearthed in the state were communities of 25 to 30 people, mainly in Southern Maryland, said Stephen Potter, a Park Service archaeologist.

Since last fall, workers using metal detectors have found a high density of nails, buttons, coins, utensils and pots, as well as glass and pottery fragments, just beneath the surface of a parcel near the Monocacy River measuring about two-thirds of an acre, the scientists said. On Monday, archaeologists from the Park Service and the University of Maryland will conduct limited excavations to test their theory that the spot contained a large number of huts, perhaps lining a street, from about 1795 to the early 1820s, Mr. Potter said.

The evidence suggests the occupation was “very intense, very localized and, from an archaeological standpoint, very short,” Mr. Potter said. “That gets us quite excited that this site could yield information that might tell us a great deal about the lives of those who couldn’t write their own histories.”

Miss Beasley said the site was part of a 748-acre plantation called L’Hermitage, or the Hermitage, established by the Vincendieres family after they left the French colony of Saint-Dominique, now Haiti. The family was among the largest slaveholders in Frederick County.

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