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Montgomery Parks’ Archaeology Program identifies, manages, and interprets archaeological sites on parkland and considers the effects of land use decisions on cultural resources. Research and excavations contribute to interpretation, public education programs, restorations, and park development plans.
The program provides for the stewardship of non-renewable archaeological resources and an opportunity for public participation in discovering our past right in your backyard. Learn more below.
EVENTS & SUMMER CAMPS
Special Events | Summer Camps
Archaeology Summer Camps
Needwood Mansion, 6700 Needwood Road, Derwood, MD
Find out what it takes to be an archaeologist! Investigate Montgomery County’s history from the ground up with archaeologists from Montgomery Parks. We host Summer Camps, Aftercare sessions, and Leadership Training Workshops. Registration starts January 22, 2019.
To register for 2019 Archaeology Summer Camps, visit
Archaeology camps are approved for SSL hours and fulfill most requirements for a Boy Scout Archaeology Merit Badge.
Questions? Contact us or call 301-563-7530
The Archaeology Program is working on several ongoing research and education projects to explore Montgomery County’s past. See below for more information on each one.
Josiah Henson Park
Located in North Bethesda, this is the site where the Reverend Josiah Henson - an escaped slave, minister, abolitionist, and late 19th-century celebrity - was enslaved between c. 1800-1830. This area was once known as the Riley Farm and covered almost 300 acres, Montgomery Parks now owns the former Riley residence and just over 3 of the surrounding acres.
On-going archaeological excavations have revealed that parts of the Riley plantation remain intact, covered by the green lawns of modern suburban lots, including foundations of former structures and many thousand 19th century artifacts.
Located along the Potomac River and used at various times during the past 5000 years, this rockshelter was excavated in the early 2000s. Artifacts recovered include projectile points, Native American ceramic fragments, animal bone, and debitage (waste material from the manufacture of stone tools). Artifacts from this this little-known period of Montgomery County's past are currently on display at the Woodlawn Museum.
Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park
Oakley Cabin is a 19th century African American historical archaeological site in Brookeville, Maryland. Montgomery Parks archaeologists have been investigating the area around the existing cabin, as well as two adjacent cabins that once stood along Brookeville Road. Thanks to a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Montgomery Parks can revisit Oakley’s extensive archaeological collection. The goal is to catalog and analyze the artifacts that have been recovered over the years and continue to research the vibrant African American community that lived here during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Zeigler Log House
During the last few years, Montgomery College students and Montgomery Parks Archaeology Camp participants have unearthed clues about the Zeigler Log House’s past. These clues, in the form of artifacts and features, are giving us a glimpse into the lives of the people who lived at the site for over 180 years. We have concentrated on the back and side yards of the house and have found traces of outbuildings and walkways. We are just at the beginning of cataloging and analyzing the data. Our goal is to complete the picture of life on a historic rural farm in northern Montgomery County.
Volunteers are one of our best assets! We encourage the involvement of individuals of all ages in this program. Please don’t hesitate to
contact us if you have would like to learn how to become a volunteer in the archaeology program.
Needwood Archaeology Volunteers
Needwood Mansion, 6700 Needwood Road, Derwood, MD | Wednesdays | 9:30 am – 2:30 pm
We are currently cataloging artifacts from a variety of projects. Volunteers can also participate in public outreach programs throughout the year, and fieldwork during the summer.
Archaeology Society of Maryland, Mid-Potomac Chapter
You can also join in the fun through a cooperative venture with Archaeological Society of Maryland (ASM) Mid-Potomac chapter. Visit
http://www.asmmidpotomac.org/ for more information.