The Chalkley site (18AN711) represents the remains of a small planter’s earthfast dwelling and is located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Occupied for less than a decade by tobacco planter Thomas Jeffe, Jr. and his family, the site revealed evidence of a simple 16 ½-x-20 foot earthfast dwelling. Artifacts, along with archaeological and documentary evidence, suggest Jeffe Jr. built and occupied this earthfast dwelling with his wife Mary between 1677 and 1685. Observation of the surrounding area suggested that an old rolling road led from the Jeffe’s homesite down an embankment to the water. The 70 acre parcel known as Jeffe’s Inheritance is located on the west bank of Church Creek, on the northern shore of the South River. The location on a tributary of the South River provided its inhabitants with ready access to the yearly tobacco fleet that gathered nearby.
As the site was occupied for less than a decade, it offers a valuable assemblage representative of a single short-term colonial occupation of a typical small planter's family in the Chesapeake. At the age of 19, Thomas Jeffe, Jr. was orphaned and as his father had passed away without a will, he petitioned the court in St Mary’s City to become executor of his father’s estate, which included the 70-acre parcel noted above and an additional 100 acres of land known as the Chance. While the elder Jeffe had at least one servant, Jeffe Jr. and his wife do not appear to have had any servants while residing at the Chalkey site. Thomas Jeffe Jr. sold the land to speculators in 1685, when the site was abandoned.
Penny Chalkley and Nancy Matthews originally reported the site in 1989, and the Anne Arundel County Archaeologist carried out a systematic investigation with the assistance of volunteers from the Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc., the Maryland Historical Trust, and the general public. Between 1990 and 1992, excavations revealed five structural postholes, one of which was excavated, and one small storage pit, which was not excavated. The assemblage includes artifacts recovered from systematic surface collections and from the excavation of 24 5-x-5 ft. plow zone units.
The excavated posthole suggests that the house walls were raised in three parts, with ten-foot bays between each of the three sets of posts. The posthole lacked any artifacts or destruction debris, reinforcing the short-term occupation on the site. No evidence for interior partitions was found. The structure was heated, likely with a wattle and daub chimney that included a small brick back firebox. The structure certainly had windows, though the recovery of limited quantities flat glass suggests it may have had one glazed window.
The middling to lower status of the site’s inhabitants and the short occupation are reflected in the relative paucity of artifacts recovered. The assemblage of 2,246 artifacts included architectural and kitchen items, and personal items. Five hundred twenty eight ceramic sherds were recovered representing at least 32 separate vessels. While diverse in origin (English, Dutch, Iberian, German and locally produced), 73% of the ceramic assemblage was comprised of coarse utilitarian earthenwares. One hundred ninety one pipe fragments were recovered including four marked pipes, (one Bristol Diamond Chain pattern and three IF (JF) marked pipes). Forty percent of the pipes were trade pipes or American Export form. No faunal remains were recovered from the surface collection or from the limited excavation units. This was not unexpected as faunal remains have a better chance of surviving in sealed features. With the exception of testing a first generation posthole, features were left unexcavated.
Luckenbach, Al and C. Jane Cox. 2002. “The Chalkley Site (1677-1685): Tobacco-Pipes of a Middling Planter.” In Al Luckenbach, C. Jane Cox and John Kille, eds. The Clay Tobacco-Pipe in Anne Arundel County, Maryland (1650-1730), pp.46-63. Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, Inc. Annapolis, MD.
Luckenbach, Al, Esther Read and Donna Ware. 1995. The Excavations at Jeffe’s Inheritance: The Chalkley Site (18AN711). Maryland Archaeology 31 (1 & 2): 39-58. Journal of the Archaeological Society of Maryland, Crownsville, MD.
Further Information on the Collection
The Chalkey Site assemblage is owned and curated by Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project at its offices in Annapolis, Maryland. The site has recently been acquired by Anne Arundel County through an arrangement with developers and is protected within a passive recreation area maintained by Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks. For additional information on this site, please contact Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project, Office of Environmental and Cultural Resources, Anne Arundel County, 2664 Riva Road, Annapolis, MD 21401 or contact the Archaeology Laboratory directly at 410-222-7441.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Cite this Record
Chalkley (18AN711). ( tDAR id: 6073) ; doi:10.6067/XCV869750D
Calendar Date: 1677 to 1685
min long: -77.498; min lat: 36.633 ; max long: -75.41; max lat: 39.368 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Project Director(s): Al Luckenbach