Chapline Place is located in the town of Prince Frederick, Maryland, west of Maryland Route 2/4. The site was investigated in advance of commercial development. Archaeological remains of a late eighteenth- to early nineteenth-century occupation were found (Myers et al. 1999:ii, 1).
A Phase I survey was conducted in the fall of 1997 to establish the boundaries of 18CV344. The site was determined to be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The site was determined to be approximately 300-x-250 feet. A Phase II survey was conducted in late 1998 to further determine the site's eligibility as well as gather more information regarding its age and usage. A Phase III survey of 18CV344 was conducted in the spring of 1999 (Myers et al. 1999:26; Dames & Moore:2, 3).
Chapline Place was part of a 250 acre parcel patented in 1666, known as Overton. By 1682, the property was owned by John Hance and remained in the Hance family until 1815, when the land was conveyed to Robert Lowe following a lawsuit regarding an unpaid debt (Myers et al. 1999:17; Dames & Moore:3).
Excavation history, procedure and methods
The Phase I consisted of 138 shovel test pits (STPs) placed at 50-foot intervals with an additional forty-five STPs at the core of the site. Soils were screened through ¼-inch hardware cloth. One of the radial STPs revealed an eighteenth-century pit feature (Myers et al. 1999:28, 37).
The Phase II consisted of additional STPs, the excavation of fourteen test units, and a geoarchaeological survey. Eight 5-x-5 foot units were placed in high artifact concentration areas, including the feature discovered during the Phase I. Six 5-x-2.5 foot units were placed to investigate anomalies discovered during the geophysical survey (Myers et al. 1999:28, 32; Dames & Moore:2).
For the Phase III, three areas of interest were chosen for further investigation. Fifteen 5-x-5 foot test units were excavated by hand and screened through ¼-inch hardware cloth. Stratigraphy of the units revealed multiple plowzones. Following excavation of the squares, the three areas were stripped down to subsoil by a gradall to expose any features. All features were bisected and if found to be cultural, were excavated in their entirety (Dames & Moore:3).
In all, nineteen cultural features were excavated; the most significant being three rectangular subfloor pits, one circular pit, eleven driven posts, and possibly the remnants of a brick hearth.
Summary of research and analysis
Based on the presence of subfloor pits and lack of support posts, 18CV344 represents multiple, impermanent dwellings. The small, driven posts and trench most likely represent fencelines dating to after the structures (Dames & Moore:4, 5).
Based on the artifact assemblage and historic record, it isn’t clear whether 18CV344 was occupied by enslaved African-Americans, free blacks, an overseer, a family member who hasn’t come into his/her inheritance, or any combination. What is known is that the owner of Overton, of which this site was a part, did not live at 18CV344 (Dames & Moore:5).