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Have you ever wondered how archaeologists and historians figure out what happened in the past? Have you thought about the hidden history that’s all around you – sometimes even right under your feet? Do you like a suspenseful mystery or a good detective story? Then visit the Past Is Present Archaeology Lab at 201 South Cross Street, in Chestertown! Part of Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society, the lab has explored more than 35 archaeological sites across the Eastern Shore. They include Native American sites dating as far back as the last Ice Age, homesteads and plantations from the colonial period, sites of African American enslavement and freedom, and even shipwrecks in the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay.
The focus of the lab is on how history is investigated and written through artifacts and the material objects left behind by earlier people. Talk with our archaeologists about the process – we don’t just show up with shovels and start digging. View changing exhibits, handle the artifacts, and learn what they mean. You can even dig into the process yourself and work alongside our staff and students in the lab or in the field!
Because our staff and students are actively engaged in exploring the past, hours vary. Check our Facebook page to see if we’re home, or just stop by when you are exploring Chestertown. We’re always happy to welcome visitors and explain the science and art of archaeology!