Archeology in Harford County

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Left: Old Joppa Archeological Site includes the Copley Parish Site and Rumsey Mansion 

Right: Archeologist at the Old Baltimore Site at Aberdeen Proving Ground (The Sun, 1998)  

Harford County has a rich history that began long before it was designated a County in 1774. Currently, there are approximately 350 recorded archeological sites in Harford County. 

 

Our archeological heritage is an important aspect of understanding our shared history, but it is often one that is overlooked. Harford County Department of Planning & Zoning is dedicated to the preservation and protection of our archeological heritage. The following goals of HarfordNEXT ensure that archeology needs are addressed:

 

  • Goal POH 1.4: Identify areas of archaeological interest and establish a local archaeology component to our existing program. 
  • Goal POH 3.1: Investigate measures to have historic and cultural resources become a part of the development review process.
  • Goal POH 3.3: Develop guidelines that promote quality design and appropriate techniques.

 See below for the ways in which Harford County plans to implement these changes.

Coming Soon! - Archeological Guidelines

 

These guidelines will assist landowners and developers by outlining the importance of archeological sites and providing strategies for avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating impacts to sites. Historic Preservation staff is working to have these guidelines ready for the public by Fall 2022.

Coming Soon! – Archeology StoryMap

 

Have you ever wondered what sort of archeological sites can be found in Harford County? This StoryMap showcases selected sites from around the County that have helped contribute to our understanding of history in our local region. Historic Preservation staff is working to have the StoryMap ready for the public by Summer 2022.

Standards and Guidelines for Archeological Investigations in Maryland

 

In Harford County, the Maryland Historical Trust’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeological Investigations in Maryland (Shaffer & Cole 1994) should be used to plan, implement, and report all phases of archeological survey. The Department of Planning & Zoning recommends that all phases of archeological survey that occurs in Harford County result in a written report that is submitted to the Maryland Historical Trust for archiving. Additionally, Harford County requests that one (1) digital copy of any archeological report be submitted to the Harford County Department of Planning & Zoning for our records.

 

Harford County strongly advocates that landowners act as stewards of any site located on their property and protect it as is. Relic hunting can damage not only the site, but also the interpretation and public understanding of a potentially important part of history.

I think I’ve found an artifact and/or site. What should I do?

 

If you are concerned that you have found an artifact or archeological site, follow these steps:

 

  1. Note the location. Avoid moving the object as much as possible unless there is potential danger to it (i.e. erosion, relic hunting, incoming tides).
  2. Take a picture of the artifact. If possible, place a dollar bill or coin next to the object so that archeologists can determine the size. 
  3. Send the photograph, location information, and a description of the object to historic@harfordcountymd.gov OR submit the same information to the mdFIND smartphone application. 

Reporting through the Harford County historic preservation staff or the mdFIND application should only be used to report an isolated artifact and is not a substitute for submission of documentation; professional archeologists should still submit a detailed MIHP Archeological Site Form.

 

Archeological site information is not readily accessible to the public. If you are an authorized archaeologist, agency representative, researcher, or landowner, you may request access to archeological site information from Medusa, Maryland’s Cultural Resource Information System.