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Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
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    Barwick's Ordinary - An Introduction to Archaeology Vocabulary

    Barwick's Ordinary - An Introduction to Archaeology Vocabulary


    Students are introduced to archaeology vocab through the case of "Barwick's Ordinary," a historic tavern, gathering place, home, and center of business in 1700s Maryland. Students are briefly introduced to the story of the ordinary then explore a 3D "art gallery" with scans of artifacts from the site as well as maps, surveys, and drone photographs. Internet access is currently required. Paintings by John Lewis Krimmel help illustrate how things may have looked. An extension is to conduct some more detailed reading into the role of ordinaries, a ubiquituous feature of the European colonies in America. There are 3 activities to "meet" Barwick's, followed by 2 summative activities.


    This lesson was designed as the start of an "Intro to Archaeology" class for high school students (especially 11th and 12th graders) by instructor Bill McGowan of SMCPS Virtual Academy and Theo, a student from PHS, in collaboration with Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. The lesson is centered on expectations for Maryland Social Studies students, including a writing component; however, ordinaries were common features across Colonial America so it can readily be remixed. The lesson sequence is as follows:

    1. Warm-up, in which students view a historic painting of a scene in a tavern and predict what objects archaeologists may be able to find after 225-250 years.
    2. Exploration Activity 1, in which students learn the story of Barwick's Ordinary and the role of ordinaries in Colonial America
    3. Exploration Activity 2, in which students explore what was found at Barwick's in a virtual art gallery and are introduced to some important vocabulary terms
    4. Summative Matching Activity, in which students match the terms to exemplar objects from Barwick's
    5. Summative Writing Activity, in which students write the story of Barwick's in their own words and incorporating the learned vocabulary terms

    This lesson introduces Barwick's Ordinary, a historic tavern, gathering place, home, and center of business in Caroline County, Maryland in the late 1700s. While learning about the history of the site and what has been found there, you'll be introduced to basic terms important to understanding archaeology. Activities incorporate 3D scans (from photogrammetry) of artifacts, maps from drones, as well as other tools of the trade!

    Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum is indebted to instructor Bill McGowan of SMCPS Virtual Academy and Theo, a student from PHS, for helping lead the creation of this material.

    Activity: Warm-Up

    As an activator/warm-up, have students view the painting The Village Tavern (high resolution copy attached). This scene was painted by John Lewis Krimmel sometime around 1813 or 1814--Krimmel was a noted genre painter from Philadelphia. This is a style where artists paint scenes of everyday life of ordinary citizens, so his rendition of this tavern shows what he took to be an "average" encounter. The woman and child in the center are supposed to be trying to bring the husband/father home from drinking, a message about temperance and alcohol. Newspapers are common in the tavern and on the back wall, befitting taverns' status as places to get news. A mail carrier is coming through the door, as taverns were common locations to pick up mail.

    After students view the painting, have them respond by telling you:

    1. What "things" in the scene would they expect archaeologists to be able to find 225-250 years after the scene occurred?
    2. Which "things" wouldn't archaeologists be able to recover? Why not?

    View the painting The Village Tavern by John Lewis Krimmel (high resolution version attached). Made in 1813 or 1814, this painting is of a type known as a genre painting and is supposed to show an "everyday" moment in ordinary peoples' lives--in this case, an everyday moment in an American tavern.

    Painting of an 1800s tavern scene with a temperance moral at center where a woman and child try to convince a man to stop drinking. Around the tavern are men drinking, reading the news, and receiving mail. A dog sleeps under a table.
    The Village Tavern, John Lewis Krimmel, 1813 or 1814. The scene in the center with the woman and child talking to a man is a "temperance" message about the ills of drinking. In the background a postal carrier is delivering the village news. Newspapers hang on the back wall, men around the tavern read the news, and a few images in the background hint at the current events--the War of 1812.

    Take a few minutes to study the painting closely, then discuss with your class what "things" in this scene you would expect archaeologists would be able to recover 225-250 years after the actual scene occurred? Which "things" wouldn't they be able to recover? Why not?

    Activity: The Story of Barwick's Ordinary

    Share the story of Barwick's Ordinary (student section, above, also attached) with your students. Introduce the students to the 3D model of the bone die that was found during excavations (linked in the resources from the site SketchFab--requires an internet connection). How do they explain that archaeologists found a die, but that Barwick's license specifies there was to be no gaming? How do they explain that archaeologists found a number of Native artifacts above the remains of the ordinary? (The working explanation is that when dirt was moved during construction, it already contained these artifacts, then when the dirt was later moved over the remains of the site, it meant the artifacts were deposited above the tavern--not that they support evidence of substantive cultural exchange between Native peoples and the colonizers.)

    Additional resources for students to explore are attached/linked. These include 3 videos on life at a contemporary residential site from Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (Smith's-St. Leonard), an additional painting by John Lewis Krimmel showing politicians meeting in a tavern--a type of scene that was very likely found at Barwick's and which includes a figure students may recognize from memes (the politician pointing at his hand, see, and several articles on the role of ordinaries in the early US. These articles may also be used as an extension activity.

    Extension--The Role of Ordinaries:

    Rather than having all students read the same article or all of the articles linked, consider having them divide into small groups and each group read one article on ordinaries and their importance in Colonial America. Then have each group summarize their article, note what they learned about ordinaries, and as a class discuss the similarities and differences from the articles.

    Further Extensions:

    Ordinaries and the Native Population

    As an important meeting place, ordinaries like Barwick's played a role in helping the European colonizers establish familiar lives in new lands. Native artifacts have been found at the excavations of Barwick's. Have students consider how ordinaries may have helped the colonizers displace the Native peoples already living in America and how/if Native peoples may have interacted with ordinaries.

    Ordinaries and the African-American/Black Population

    Have students conduct research on ordinaries and race in the colonies—would free African-Americans have had access to the same ordinaries as the White population? Would enslaved persons have been seen in the ordinary? If not, where would they have met? This lesson employs works by John Lewis Krimmel, a noted genre painter from the early 19th century; other works from Krimmel include racist caricatures of African-Americans, a practice which students could consider as to how it reflects on race in the colonies and early United States.

    Barwick's Ordinary is an archaeological site in Caroline County, Maryland along the Choptank River near the modern town of Denton. The ordinary, or tavern, was part of a small complex of buildings that included a ferry, tobacco warehouse, and courthouse, and the entire complex served as the first county seat for Caroline County.

    A pink map marker shows the location of Barwick's Ordinary within Caroline County MD. It is located in the middle (vertically) of the "Delmarva" penninsula
    The location of Barwick's Ordinary within the state of Maryland.
    A topographic map in shades of blue, yellow, and green shows a small peninsula on the Choptank River where the Barwick's Ordinary site is located. Several small annotations show how the site corresponds to historic deed records' directions
    The location of the Barwick's Ordinary archaeological site on the Choptank River.

    By 1774-1776, James Barwick was innkeeper on the site. He received a license to operate a tavern on November 24th, 1775. The license tells us that he also lived in the ordinary and includes the instructions that Barwick would "not suffer loose idle or disorderly persons to tipple [drink alcohol, especially to excess], game [gamble], or commit any disorders or other irregularities in his said Ordinary."  A 1774 court order reveals what liquors at taverns in Caroline County would have cost:

    “The court agrees to the following rates of liquors (and
    tavern rates) until August Court of 1775:
    -West India Rum 13 shillings, 4 pence per gallon
    -Country Brandy, 8 shillings per gallon
    -Strong Beer, Country Brewed, 4 shillings per gallon
    -Every gill of New England Rum or Country Brandy
    with Muscavada sugar to make same into punch and so
    pro rata, 8 pence
    -Every Lemon or Seville Orange, 6 pence
    -Hot Diet with small Beer or Cider, 1 shilling
    -Cold Diet with Ditto, 10 pence
    -Horse stablage with sufcient fodder for one horse one
    night, 6 pence
    -Oats and Indian Corn each 6 shillings per bushel”

    Around 1783, Barwick seems to have given over managing the ordinary to a man named Benjamin Denny. Further records indicate that by 1795 the entire site was being used for agricultural uses.

    Activity: What was found at Barwick's?

    We recommend modelling how to visit, navigate, and interact with the virtual gallery so students understand how to connect the objects in the gallery to the vocabulary terms listed below. Start with a few broader terms before moving on. The full list of terms and their definitions is attached. The gallery (made in ArtSteps) requires a constant internet connection and can be tempermental, so a backup/offline version is forthcoming as of August 2022.

    Each 3D model in the virtual art gallery is matched to a vocabulary term. Clicking an object reveals the term and accompanying definition to match. The following table lists the connections:

    surveyGround penetrating radar resultsGPR was used to survey the excavation site prior to any digging to help identify if something was present, where, and what it might be.
    siteMap of siteArchaeologist's working at Barwick's kept this map of the site to help track where excavation was occurring and infer connections.
    stratigraphyPhotogrammetry of Feature 7Feature 7 exhibited clear stratigraphy when excavated, with one soil layer made very clear thanks to thermal modification--a likely hearth.
    featureDrone photo of Feature 3Feature 3 included a number of soil stains and embedded bricks, an arrangment indicative of a small structure with subsurface storage pits.
    artifactGeorge II "halfpenny"This halfpenny was made, used, and changed by humans, making it an excellent example of an artifact.
    attributeTobacco pipe bowl fragment with maker's markOne tobacco pipe bowl fragment found at Barwick's had a clear maker's mark on it—an attribute of the larger artifact.
    incongruousCord-marked potteryWhile there was a Native presence at the site before Barwick's, Native artifacts found thus far are above the remains of the Ordinary which suggests they are an incongruity caused by later processes when considered in context of the site's full history.
    lithicMadison projectile pointLithic is a root word indicating something relating to stone; archaeologist's characterize artifacts made from stone as "lithics."
    sherdRhenish stoneware sherd with partial "G" monogramCeramics/pottery are rarely preserved whole and their individual pieces are known as sherds.
    patentBone dieLand patents are a type of grant conferring  legal ownership of the land. In the maze of patents and court cases relating to Barwick's, we find a reference to there being no "gaming" on site, which makes explaining this die a bit tricky...
    photogrammetry3D Model of siteThe process of taking 2D photographs and converting them into a 3D model with a specialized computer program is photogrammetry. This view of the site is mostly flat because the land is mostly flat, but piles of dirt hint that ther are 3-dimensions.
    gridPhoto of grid at siteA string grid helps archaelogists record where artifacts and features were found.
    excavationDrone photo of excavation in progressExcavation is more than just digging—it is methodical and involves a series of processes which can be glimpsed around this open feature.
    contextComposite image of 6 artifacts, a photo of a feature, stratigraphy, and site modelContext is the orientation of artifacts and features, their proximity, arrangement, and so on. It helps form a complete picture that is clearer than just looking at an artifact in isolation.
    organicDrilled megalodon toothUnlike lithics, organic remains come from something once living, even if it is now fossilized.
    trowelPhoto of trowelSlightly different than the usual garden tool, archaeologist's trowels are distinctive flat-bladed hand tools.

    Attached is a link to a virtual "art gallery." Visit the gallery and virtually explore it--included in it are artifacts found at Barwick's Ordinary during excavations as well as information on some of the method sused to learn about the site before, during, and after excavation.

    Each included object corresponds to a vocabulary term useful to understanding the practice of archaeology. For example, in the gallery, you can find objects that correspond to the following terms:

    1. Site
    2. Excavation
    3. Artifact
    4. Feature
    5. Stratigraphy

    Clicking on an object reveals its corresponding term and a definition of that term. 

    Summative Activity: Matching Basic Archaeology Terms

    The first summative activity is to match the terms from the previous activity and found in the virtual gallery to the corresponding objects illustrating the term. This activity is powered by an interactive on the service (internet connection required). An offline version, using PowerPoint is also available, though enterprising students can easily look ahead with that version. The PowerPoint version does offer better accommodation for screen readers and other assistive devices.

    When a student has correctly answered all of the questions, they will receive a "secret" code to report. The code is the name of a cow that was given to the children of the land's owner in 1669 as a gift from their step father when he married their mother.

    Attached below is a link to an interactive “,” (internet connection required, PowerPoint available for offline use), with a complete list of the terms and objects found in the virtual art gallery. After exploring the gallery, visit the interactive and test your knowledge of the terms and their meanings. At the end of the interactive, you’ll receive a “secret code” to report to your instructor.

    Summative Activity: Sharing the Story of Barwick's Ordinary

    In this final summation, students will write the story of Barwick's Ordinary in their own words, based on the history and archaeology they have been exposed to. The length of this story can vary to fit your classroom, but students should have a number of terms to include--we're using 7-8 in the first version of this activity.

    This final activity is a writing one, where you will tell the story of Barwick's Ordinary yourself based on its recorded history and the archaeology you've been introduced to. As you write your telling of the story, be sure to include 7-8 of the terms you've previously learned.