Preservation Maryland’s mission includes the discovery and protection of archaeological sites and resources in Maryland, and through the Waxter Internship program, we supported Matthew Nickelson’s work in Anne Arundel County. These are some of his final observations:

Read Matt Nickelson’s first account of his work and second account from the lab at Pig Point and River Farm at the Archaeological Society of Marylandand the Maryland Historical Trust‘s Office of Archaeology’s summer archaeological field session at The River Farm site located on the Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary owned by Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks.


In analyzing the catalog of lithic or stone material excavated during field work, my goal was to compare and contrast the materials found in the upper block at River Farm and lower block found nearer Pig Point.

  • The lithic stone tool assemblage shows a much greater abundance of lithic tools in the upper block while the lower block had greater diversity of tool types; this implies that the lower area held diverse activities, and the upper a specialized activity.
  • Groundstone tools used for plant processing were more prevalent in the lower block, than the upper block that contained many more cutting implements that suggests more butchering and hide processing took place.

Taking these observations in the field and from analyzing the assemblage of items, it seems that there was a change in behavior of Native Americans to a more subsistence lifestyle


As my internship comes to a close and the year winds down, I find myself reflecting on the field work and research I completed as part of a much larger team of archaeologists in Maryland:

I would like to thank the incredible group at the Lost Towns Project for nominating me for the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation‘s Westy Award given annually to a archaeology or preservation student volunteer or intern. It was presented to me at a ceremony held at Larkin’s Hundred in Edgewater by Chris West-Cataldo, the daughter of Harold Raymond West, Jr, after whom the award is named.

Another highlight of my internship was the opportunity to share my research during a meeting of the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs in Annapolis in October. I truly enjoyed bringing my research full circle to be able to include the Native American community of Maryland. The meeting opened with a prayer by a council elder in his native language of Mohawk.

I was very fortunate to have some wonderful mentors that assisted me with my research: I don’t think I could have gotten through my research without the help of my mentor, Mandy Melton. The expertise and leadership of Stephanie Sperling helped me expand my archaeological skills to the next level. I would like to thank Virginia Busby for connecting me with the archaeology field school and Maryland’s Native American community, and her gracious invitation to present at the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs.

Learn more about Matt and the Waxter Internship program at: