Turner Site (18CH205)
The Turner Site (18CH205) is an isolated interior site located east of
Zekiah Swamp in Charles County, Maryland. The site is characterized by
a large quantity of white clay tobacco pipe fragments, few European
ceramics, and no bottle glass. This enigmatic site was initially interpreted
as an English hunting camp but is more likely a domestic site associated
with a poor land-owning household.
The property on which the Turner site is located was known as Watson's
Choice and was first granted to Richard Watson in 1664. The land
consisted of 250 acres. In 1665, Watson conveyed the land to William
Cross and Thomas Hensall. Cross had arrived in the colony in 1663 as
a servant and was free by 1665. He married Elizabeth, also a former
servant, and together they had three children. Elizabeth brought to
the household her son by her first marriage, Thomas Wilson, who was
raised in the Cross household.
Cross died in 1676 and left land to both his stepson, Thomas Wilson,
and his son, William Cross, Jr. Cross also left Cross, Jr. three cows,
the "first mare colt to [foal]," and an iron pot. Elizabeth died in
1677, leaving her daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, and Esther, a cow each.
The property was acquired by Clement Haley before 1695; that year, Haley's
daughters inherited Watson's Choice from their father. The archaeological
evidence suggests that neither Clement Haley nor his daughters lived at
In 1981, Southern Maryland Regional Archaeologist Michael Smolek undertook
a controlled surface collection of the Turner site along with the excavation
of a few shovel test pits and a single 3-by-3 meter unit. A feature believed to
be a storage pit and measuring approximately 1 by 2 meters was uncovered in the
test unit. The feature contained no artifacts.
A total of 774 artifacts were recovered by the property owners and by Smolek
during his 1981 fieldwork; the materials were cataloged by Smolek and Henry
Miller, an archaeologist with Historic St. Mary's City. Just under half of
the collection consists of pre-1600 stone artifacts, including 278 projectile
points revealing a long Native occupation of the property. Slightly more than
half of the artifacts, however, are associated with the colonial occupation.
White and red clay tobacco pipes form the largest portion of the colonial assemblage.
More than 300 tobacco pipe fragments were recovered from the site but only four
colonial ceramics, including a fragment of Morgan Jones ceramic, were recovered.
A single fragment of bottle glass, possibly from a case bottle, was reported in
an early analysis of the material but no bottle glass was found in the catalog
from which this project drew.
The white clay tobacco pipes, including 281 stems with measurable bores from both
the private collection and the 1981 fieldwork, yielded a Binford date of 1654
and a Harrington histogram date of ca. 1645-1680. These dates are earlier than
the date suggested by the documentary evidence and the maker's marks. Maker's
marks were identified in the collection, including WE (William Evans I or II,
ca. 1660-1696), RT (Robert Tippet, 1660-1687), LE (Llewellin Evans, 1661-1688/9),
and IS (John Sinderling, 1668-1699). The marks, all from Bristol pipemakers,
the Binford date, and the documentary evidence point toward an occupation date
range of ca. 1665-1685, suggesting the assemblage represents the Cross family
Forty-one red clay tobacco pipe fragments are found in the collection, including
four with a running deer motif, one with a diamond motif, and one with a
A lead bale or cloth seal, marked "CARSAY 166[-]," was recovered from the Turner
site. Lead cloth seals are fairly common on colonial sites. Made in Europe, they
were used to hold fabric or merchandise bags. The seal indicated that the product
had been inspected for quality, correct dimensions, and for taxation. The lobes
of seals came in a number of shapes, such as circular, square and star-shaped.
They were used both by merchants and officials who inspected the product. The
term, "carsay," is a type of textile, or kersey. Kersey was an inexpensive
coarse woolen cloth produced in England.
Although there are clear collector biases evident in the property owner's
collection when compared with the materials recovered by Smolek (particularly
the high number of projectile points in the property owner's collection),
both collections suggest the prevalence of tobacco pipes at the site.
The materials led Smolek and Miller to suggest that the site was possibly
a sporadically-occupied hunting camp. The documentary evidence, however,
suggests the collection represents a free but nonetheless poor household of
No reports have been prepared for the Turner site.
What You Need To Know To Use This Collection
- The Turner site was occupied 1665-1677 and possibly until 1685.
- Archaeological investigations included surface collection, shovel tests,
a single test unit, and feature excavation.
- At the time of its collection, the materials were split up with the
Indigenous artifacts going to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation
Lab and the European artifacts going to Historic St. Mary's City.
Further Information About the Collection
The Turner site collection is divided and housed by two institutions. For
information on the Indigenous materials in the collection and collection access,
contact Rebecca Morehouse, Collections Manager, at 410-586-8583; email
For information on the colonial materials in the collection and collection access,
contact Jennifer Ogborne, Curator of Collections at Historic St. Mary's City,
at 240-895-4396; email email@example.com.
To Download Data
Data and a variety of other resources from this site are available for download. To download data,
please go to the Downloads page.