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Archaeologists Find Slave Quarters Along AACO Highway

CROWNSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) -- A significant historical find along a Maryland highway.

As Mary Bubala shows us, archaeologists made a rare discovery of slave quarters along General's Highway in Anne Arundel County.

Near General's Highway in Crownsville, archaeologists were searching for a Revolutionary War campsite when they discovered a 34-by-34 foot stone foundation with brick floors--where slaves once walked more than 200 years ago. They also found thousands of artifacts, including dish fragments, beads and animal bones.

"The preservation is outstanding. This is a shell button sitting here for 200 years. Not only do we have brick floors and a foundation, we have artifacts that don't want to seem to decompose," said SHA Chief Archaeologist Dr. Julie Schablitsky.

The find came during a survey of General's Highway as part of a federally funded transportation enhancement program. The plantation was home to Francis Scott Key's grandmother. Up to 35 enslaved African-Americans lived there.

"In here, we have a brick patio. This is an area where the African-American slaves would sit here and probably talk, spend time. Archaeology will tell us what they did," Schablitsky said.

Nancy Matthew Daniels says her ancestors were enslaved there.

"Joseph and the whole family was here at one time," she said.

The discovery will influence transportation planning to preserve this precious piece of Maryland history.

"These are people that probably are not in the historic record. We have maybe a name if you're lucky. And now we have a slice of their life," said Schablitsky.

"It's an amazing site--amazing history and great preservation--full of interesting things we're pulling up."

The Maryland State Highway Administration and Anne Arundel County archaeologists are partnering in the excavation of sites and historic buildings along the highway.

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