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"…down amongst the bears and dogs…": Investigations of an Animal Baiting Pit at the Calvert House Site, Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland

Author(s): Travis Parno ; Timothy Riordan

Year: 2017

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Summary

In the early 1980s, archaeologists surveying the northern yard of the Leonard Calvert house (c. 1635) in Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) uncovered small segments of a wide, gently curving fence trench that offered more questions than answers. Nearly 30 years later, over the course of multiple field school seasons, HSMC archaeologists explored more of the curious feature and revealed what appears to have been an oval-shaped fence with a single post at its center. Initial interpretation has identified this feature as an animal baiting pit. Animal blood sport, including bull baiting, dog/cock fighting, and small animal baiting, has a lengthy precedent in both England and the English colonies. This paper reviews the history of animal baiting in the colonial Tidewater region, examines the archaeological evidence discovered at HSMC, and offers some thoughts on identifying the archaeological signature of animal-baiting pits using a combination of material culture and historical analyses.


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Cite this Record

"…down amongst the bears and dogs…": Investigations of an Animal Baiting Pit at the Calvert House Site, Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland. Travis Parno, Timothy Riordan. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435399)


Keywords

Temporal Keywords
17th Century


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 267

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America