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17th-Century Artifacts Recovered at St. Mary’s Fort

Friday, April 30, 2021

ST. MARY’S CITY, MARYLAND—According to an NPR report, archaeologist Travis Parno announced the discovery of three artifacts dating to the early seventeenth century at the recently discovered site of St. Mary’s Fort, the first colonial settlement in Maryland. The first, a silver shilling, was minted in London between 1633 and 1634, which helps to date the site, Parno explained. The excavation team also uncovered a tinkling cone, an ornament made from a small piece of flattened and rolled copper, that is thought to have been produced by the colonists for trade with Indigenous people. The final object is a Roman Catholic medallion representing five saints canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. Parno said the medallion represents the colonists’ missionary efforts. Cannonballs and musket equipment were also uncovered, he added. “That shows the other side of colonialism, that this was about land expansion, this was about empire,” he said. To read about the archaeology of enslavement in Maryland, go to "Letter from Maryland: Belvoir's Legacy."

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