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Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park

Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park

Mount Calvert is one of the most significant historical and archaeological sites in Prince George's County. Its rich archaeological and historical resources represent over 8000 years of human culture. Archaeological evidence shows that American Indians were present from the Archaic Period (7500-1000 BC) through the Woodland Period (1000 BC-1600 AD). Early Archaic hunters and gathers visited the Upper Patuxent River to harvest the river's natural resources. Later, Woodland Indians farmed the land and lived in permanent villages along the river until the 1600's when European settlers arrived.

The English colonial town at Mount Calvert was established by the 1684 Act for the Advancement of trade. It became the county seat when Prince George's County was organized in 1696 and was renamed Charles Town. By 1710, an Anglican Church, courthouse and jail had been built. At the riverfront wharves, ships brought goods from Europe in exchange for tobacco. Ordinaries (taverns) provided food, drink, and lodging to planters and merchants. In 1721, the county seat was moved to Upper Marlboro. Charles Town gradually disappeared and Mount Calvert became a ferry landing.

Between the 1780s and 1860s, Mount Calvert was a tobacco plantation. The brick plantation house (built in the 1780s) housed the families of the various plantation owners, John Brown, John Brooks and Samuel Berry. The Mount Calvert plantation depended on slave labor. By the mid-1800s, fifty-one enslaved African-Americans lived and worked on-site.  Today, an interpretive trail and a museum exhibit tell the story of Mount Calvert's past. Signs along the trail highlight American Indian cultures, colonial Charles Town, a 19th century, African-American history, the War of 1812, and the Chesapeake Beach Railway. Located in the restored plantation house, the exhibit, A Confluence of Three Cultures, depicts the life-ways of American Indians, English Colonists, and African-Americans at Mount Calvert. Artifacts such as stone tools, pottery, glass beads, shells, bones, tobacco pipes, glass bottles and shoe buckles help reveal the stories of past cultures.

Relic or artifact collecting is strictly prohibited.

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Image Credit: F Delventhal / Flickr Commons
Last updated: June 30, 2020
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