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Images from the student research project at Mt. Aventine.

Mt. Aventine, Maryland

Fluxgate Gradiometry Survey and Historical Analysis


This project used HCC undergraduates in the topographic and magnetometry survey of land associated with the present day house of Mt. Aventine. This survey was part of an inter-disciplinary research study (co-directed with Dr. Mark Tacyn, assistant professor of History, at HCC) that combined non-invasive survey methods with archival research to identify the nature and extent of the archaeological features associated with the historic development of this site.


Mt. Aventine is the main house associated with a nineteenth century plantation, located in western Charles County, Maryland, adjacent to the Potomac River (Little, 1994). The Chapman family owned and developed this land from the mid-eighteenth century, and it is the location and extent of this and of any potentially earlier occupation and activity that provided the focus for this investigation.


This project provided data to help answer three key research questions:


1. What is the degree of preservation and extent of sub-surface archaeology in the open grassland areas within and around Mt. Aventine?


2. What is the potential for non-invasive survey (specifically a combination of magnetometry survey and topographic survey) in identifying and interpreting archaeological features of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in this region?


3. How will the findings of these surveys support and/or contradict the narrative for this site available from a study of the historical archives associated with Mt. Aventine (using Little, 1994 as a starting point for relevant archives)?


In addition to providing new data and clarifying current research questions, the inter-disciplinary nature of this project exposed students from Howard Community College to the applications of physics, math, geology, archaeology and history, all of which contributed to this research. This project reflects Howard Community College’s values by providing student training and educational opportunities via collaborations with leading companies and researchers, within a framework of sustainable cultural resource management. The results of this project were disseminated at the Archaeological Society of Maryland's Annual Meeting in 2011. The results also aided the sucessful request to purchase a magnetometer for future use by students at HCC.



Little. R. 1994. Nomination for the listing of Mount Aventine on the National Register of Historic Places. US Department of the Interior,National Park Service. 



This project would not be possible without the generous donation of the personal time, technology and expertise of Dr. Lewis Somers of Geoscan Research USA and Archaeo-Physics LLC., and Dr. James Gibb of Gibb Archaeological Consulting. In preparing for this project my thanks also go to the following individuals who have offered valuable advice, information and support; Mr. Elmer Biles, Mr. Patrick Bright, Dr. Jerry Casway, Dr. James Gibb, Mrs. Emily Mudd-Hdricks, Dr. Lewis Somers, Ms. Jaimie Wilder, Mr. Phillip Wilder.






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