ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A group of archeologists is working to unearth the first major foothold of a European settlement in the State of Maryland.

It’s a slow process digging through history, but the team of archaeologists with Historic St. Mary’s City is up to the task.

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They’re working to unearth one of the oldest English settlements to land in Maryland.

“You’re looking at the archaeological evidence of the fort that was constructed here in 1634,” Ruth Mitchell, Senior Staff Archaeologist, said.

Once home to more than 200 colonists, the exact location of Saint Mary’s Fort was unknown up until a few years ago when a grant allowed them to complete a geophysical survey.

“Once the geophysics was completed, and we did some additional archeology, we realized we got it,” Mitchell said.

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The seemingly small discoveries help paint a bigger picture as they work to map the layout of the fort.

“We’ve focused a lot in this area,” Mitchell said. “This would’ve been inside the fort and we believe we found a building here.”

But they’re also finding artifacts that date back much further than the 17th century.

“This is a partial Native American projectile point,” Mitchell said.

It’s now known that Native people occupied this land for upwards of 8,000 years.

“They came to an agreement with the Yaocomico tribe that they would share the land,” Mitchell added.

It’s this kind of work that’s helping them understand their relationship, and the role it played in shaping our history.

“It’s really important for us to understand the past,” Mitchell said. “It helps us, as we all know, understand the present and sometimes it can help guide us to understanding the future.”

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This dig site is open to the public so you can go see it for yourself and ask questions to the archeologists.

Sean Streicher