Phase I Survey for Riverwater Line Replacement at the Posey Site (18CH281), Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Charles County, Maryland


On behalf of the Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, The Louis Berger Group, Inc. (LBG), carried out a Phase I archaeological survey at Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Charles County, Maryland. The Navy is planning to upgrade riverwater lines at the installation, and the archaeological investigation was conducted as part of Section 106 compliance efforts for the project. Two alternative alignments for riverwater line replacement were examined, which are on the periphery of the Posey Site (18CH281), a site that has been previously recommended as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The site is a Native American village that has lost a degree of integrity but has yielded important information concerning Native American lifeways during the Middle Woodland, Late Woodland, and contact periods (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries).

Alternative 1 runs along the existing riverwater line, through the southern part of the Posey Site for approximately 181 meters (594 feet), in an area previously impacted by utility construction. A single test unit (50x200 centimeters) was excavated along Alternative 1. In all, 16 native artifacts were recovered from the test unit, consisting of a hammerstone, debitage (N=5), and Native American ceramics (N=10). The occupation in this area is part of the Posey Site occupation, covering the same temporal span. Deposits are heavily mixed and have very poor potential for archaeological feature preservation within an area extending at least 164 centimeters (5.4 feet) from the existing utility line corridor.

Alternative 2 runs along a drainage ditch on the north side of Biazzi Road, on the northern periphery of the Posey Site. Alternative 2 has a length of approximately 211 meters (692 feet). A total of 43 shovel tests were excavated along this proposed alignment on the northern and southern sides of the drainage ditch. Native American artifacts (N=11) were recovered from 10 shovel tests, principally from a plowzone but below the plowzone in one shovel test.

A third alternative, not examined archaeologically, is to install a new riverwater line under the existing Biazzi Road. Alternative 3 has a length of approximately 250 meters (820 feet). There is a story at the installation, told to archaeologists previously working at the site, that a Native American burial is present under Noble Road in the site vicinity, near the junction of Biazzi Road and Noble Road. The burial is said to have been exposed when Noble Road was being graded, and then preserved in place. The story has not been verified archaeologically.

Alternative 4 is a variation on Alternative 1, where a new waterline would be installed along the existing utility corridor, but directional boring would be used to avoid open-trench excavation within the Posey Site. The boring would minimize impacts to the Posey Site; however, there would be the potential for impacts in the future if the waterline required repairs, as a directionally bored waterline would be laid to one side of the existing waterline, possibly beneath an undisturbed area of the site.

It is recommended that formal consultation with Maryland Historical Trust be initiated with regard to the proposed project. The Posey Site (18CH281) is an obvious candidate for NRHP eligibility under Criterion D, but its NRHP eligibility should be formally established. A critical issue, for both long-term resource management and the immediate Section 106 consultation, is the clarification of site boundaries. The recommended site boundary in the 1996 study significantly expanded the 1985 boundary and included a nearby site (18CH282). It is recommended that the site boundary be formally evaluated, with a possible expansion to include the finds from the present Phase I study.

Given the number of issues that should be resolved in Section 106 consultation, it may be premature in this Phase I study to assess the impacts from the project alternatives. Alternatives 1 and 4 would re-use the existing utility corridor, which lacks integrity as a result of previous utility line construction. Additional adverse effects to the site (as defined in the 1996 study) could be minimized, if not altogether avoided, by replacement of the waterline within the existing utility trench (Alternative 1). With Alternative 1, protective measures (such as fabric and logging mats) would be employed to avoid impacts to the site from the movement and operation of machinery. Alternative 4 would use directional boring to install the new waterline and thereby avoid open-trench excavation and the need for protective measures during the utility line construction.

Alternative 2 would require new construction in an area that was excluded from the site boundary in both the 1985 and 1996 studies. Although much of the Alternative 2 corridor has been disturbed, archaeological deposits are present in this corridor that might be encompassed in an expanded site boundary or by an archaeological district. Alternative 2 avoids the Posey Site (as defined in the 1985 and 1996 studies) entirely, but it would disturb some areas with archaeological deposits that seem to be associated with the Posey Site complex. Diagnostic artifacts recovered from the shovel testing along Alternative 2 demonstrate that these deposits are temporally associated with the Posey Site. Given its greater length and more favorable preservation conditions, Alternative 2 would probably result in a greater impact to the archaeological record than Alternatives 1 and 4.

Alternative 3 would place the new waterline under the Biazzi roadway. This alternative has not been surveyed archaeologically. Since it is a graded roadway, it would likely avoid impacts to any intact archaeological deposits that exist in surface or near-surface contexts; however, deeply buried features may be present under the depth of road disturbance, given the presence of posts and pits elsewhere on the site. In addition, there are unverified accounts of a Native American burial preserved under Noble Road, and the potential exists for human remains on the Alternative 3 alignment.

Cite this Record

Phase I Survey for Riverwater Line Replacement at the Posey Site (18CH281), Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Charles County, Maryland. Gregory Katz, Charles LeeDecker. 2012 ( tDAR id: 393156) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8PZ59T1

Spatial Coverage

min long: -77.21; min lat: 38.565 ; max long: -77.164; max lat: 38.59 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory Federal Curator

Sponsor(s): Navy

Repository(s): Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory

Prepared By(s): Louis Berger

Record Identifiers

Delivery Order(s): 59

MAC Lab Accession Number(s): 2012.041

Contract No.(s): N40080-07-D-0311


General Note: The following physical records are held at MAC Lab: Field Notes, Maps, Artifact Catalog, Report, Color Prints, Photologs, List of Documentation, acid-free copy of all paper records stored in the secondary records storage room

General Note: Date Collected:11/9/2011

Redaction Note: This document has been redacted. To request access to a nonredacted copy, contact the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
CXE4845_Indian-Head-Final_Jan2012.pdf 10.08mb Jun 25, 2014 3:04:54 PM Confidential
CXE4845_PoseySite_final_ED-April-2012_Redacted.pdf 4.01mb Aug 18, 2014 2:29:10 PM Confidential
This document has been redacted. To request access to a nonredacted copy, contact the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

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Contact(s): Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory Federal Curator