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  • Matthew D. McKnight

Field Session Teaster - Hunting the Maryland Monster

This year the Annual Field Session will be held at the Oldtown I site (18AG9), just east of Cumberland in Allegany County. It’s been over a decade since the Field Session was held in Western Maryland, and this year will bring a significant “first” for MHT and ASM; a Field Session held on federal property. While that has presented some challenges for permitting, we have developed a good working relationship with the park and the regional archeology office at NPS and everyone involved is very excited to see what we discover this June.

Situated within a hayfield at C&O Canal National Historical Park, the Oldtown I (or Cresap’s Fort) site is believed to have been the home of one of the most important frontiersmen in Maryland and American history; Colonel Thomas Cresap. Cresap was a “character” to say the least. He was one of those larger than life figures like Daniel Boone or Davey Crockett who’s life’s story seems just a little too far-fetched to be believed…until you start digging into the archival record. It turns out that all the best stories are true! He was a fur trader and land speculator, a trailblazer, a fighter of border wars, a surveyor, a ferryman, a farmer, and sometime friend/sometime foe of the Native American inhabitants of western Maryland and the Ohio Valley. He played host at Oldtown to General Edward Braddock, George Washington, and other important dignitaries from the three English colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as from numerous Indian Nations. His home was a refuge for colonists fleeing attacks during both the French and Indian War and Pontiac’s War that followed.

Come help us tell his story at the 53rd Annual Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland Archeology from May 30-June 10, 2024 in Oldtown, MD. Visit the ASM’s website to register:

Figure 1. Volunteers documenting 18th-century features at 18AG9.

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