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Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

After hiking in Calvert Cliffs, I drove a few miles up the road and checked out an historical site called Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum. In 1983, Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson this property to the State of Maryland. It is an important archaeological property in the Chesapeake Bay region. Her gift of the Point Farm Estate, the largest land gift the state has ever been given, created the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.

The archaeological sites thoroughly document a remarkable and varied history that goes back thousands of years. Some of the sites, and the people and events associated with them, are known through documentary evidence, oral histories, and archaeological research.  However, even after twenty five years of excavations, museum archaeologists have explored less than one percent of the potential sites on the property.

There is a recreated Indian Village which was created in 2007 for the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of John Smith’s exploration of Chesapeake Bay. It provides a glimpse into life as it might have been when John Smith visited the people who lived along the Patuxent River. The Indian Village has four lodges of different sizes. It is protected on one side by a palisade—a tall fence of poles set into the ground which allowed it to be guarded by only one or two men. People along the Patuxent built palisades to help keep out raiders from other tribes who would take the stores of dried corn.

There is also an archaeological site showing a small plantation house that was on the site. The signs explain how the archaeologists determine information about a structure from what they find in the ground. They can actually tell about a structure was built by examining what they call "post molds" next to where the posts were found.

At the point along the water, there is a little house that was used as a retreat for the residents. It flooded a lot but it had bathrooms which was unusual at the time.


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