Get your hands dirty as a real archaeologist-for-a-day

The annual public archaeology days at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum began May 5 and continue each Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday through June 27, 10:00am-3:00pm. It’s an opportunity to do real fieldwork and see what it’s like to be a real archaeologist. The program is free.

SONY DSCVolunteers excavate an actual site on the Jefferson Patterson Park property. The area has been inhabited for thousands of years and yields its historic secrets to those who dig and screen for artifacts.

Patricia Samford, of the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, said recent finds have included a leaded crystal wine glass commemorating the coronation of King George I, a brass scissor-style candle snuffer, a carved ivory fan, and a black enamel mourning ring (worn after a loved one died as a remembrance).

If you don’t want to get dirty, there’s a place for you in the conservation lab on the property, where field discoveries are washed, labeled, and counted by volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The program began in 1996 and archaeologists and volunteers have explored the sites of several different buildings aided by plats drawn in the 1770s and probate inventories taken in 1715 and 1749.

You can register to participate by emailing While families are welcome, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information:

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum:


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