How Far We Have Come: Advances in Bioarchaeology at Historic St. Mary’s City


This is an abstract from the session entitled "From Maryland’s Ancient [Seat] and Chief of Government: Papers in Honor of Henry M. Miller" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Bioarchaeological research at St. Mary’s City began in the early 1990s with “Project Lead Coffins.” This excavation of three burials from inside the 17th-century Great Brick Chapel – since identified as members of the prominent Calvert family – was followed by osteological analyses of approximately 60 individuals buried in the adjacent Chapel Field. Further collaboration with Henry Miller and team led to Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake. This exhibit (2009–2014) at the National Museum of Natural History resulted in successful public engagement and education on how forensic anthropology informs history. With Miller’s continued support, increasingly advanced analytical methods have been applied to the remains from St. Mary’s City, including heavy metal testing for medicinal treatments and genomic tests that provide data on familial relationships. Recent work demonstrates the value of multi-disciplinary analyses, sustained cooperative research between organizations, and the merit of continued access to human skeletal remains.   

Cite this Record

How Far We Have Come: Advances in Bioarchaeology at Historic St. Mary’s City. Douglas Owsley, Karin S. Bruwelheide, Kathryn Barca, Jeff Speakman, David Reich. 2020 ( tDAR id: 456976)


Temporal Keywords
17th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 225