Historic Archaeological Artifact Recovered From Patuxent River

April 11, 2015

Recovered from Patuxent RiverOn March 25th, watermen from Solomons Island Heritage Tours and Patuxent River Seafood recovered an 18th-century Iberian Botija/Olive Oil Jar from the Patuxent River. This amazing find was pulled from the water by their oyster tongs and is in remarkably good condition.

The jar, standing almost two feet tall and shaped like a ribbed carrot, was heavily encrusted in oysters, barnacles and other marine life. Conservators at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory (MAC Lab) have begun removing these encrustations and will continue to treat the object so that it can be made ready for study and display. While the MAC Lab’s collections contain fragments of this ceramic type, it is very rare to find a complete vessel. The Spanish, Italians and Portuguese used this type of jar to transport olive oil to their colonies in Florida and further south. Recovering such an intact artifact in the waters of Southern Maryland is particularly interesting to archaeologists.

It is especially important to recognize the actions of waterman Simon Dean in turning over an artifact recovered in Maryland waters to the State’s archaeologists. The academic value can now be shared with a broad range of communities, including researchers, international colleagues and the public. Just as it is important to conserve our natural and environmental resources, it is equally crucial to preserve our cultural heritage.

The Patuxent Botija will be available to view on public tours of the MAC Lab and at Discovering Archaeology Day on April 18 at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.

Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, a state museum of archaeology and home to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, is a program of the Maryland Historical Trust, a division of the Maryland Department of Planning. It is located on 560 scenic acres along the Patuxent River and the St. Leonard Creek in St. Leonard, Calvert County, Maryland. For more information, call 410-586-8501 or visit www.jefpat.org.

Recovered from Patuxent River

12 Responses to Historic Archaeological Artifact Recovered From Patuxent River

  1. fred50 on April 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Hopefully the nutrition, bar code label survived and they can see the shelf life date/country of origin.

    • Anonymous on April 12, 2015 at 10:10 am

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      • none on April 13, 2015 at 10:27 am


  2. Me2 on April 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    So glad the watermen handled it safely. Keeping it intact for all to enjoy and learn from. A lot of history in these waters and buried in the ground as well. With each find a new lesson learned and another object for our next generations to admire and treasure .

  3. Anonymous on April 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    History is extraordinarily important. I love every part of it the good, the bad, and the inevitable ugly. What a great find. Never knew about the museum in St. Leonard thanks for the education.

  4. Anonymous on April 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    What an historical find on the birth date of our dear state of Maryland March 25th.

  5. Anonymous on April 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    So this artifact is at least 300 years old. what a find.

    • Anonymous on April 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Did you have to take your shoes off to figure this math out?

  6. Raughing OutRoud on April 13, 2015 at 6:01 am

    better TAX it!

    • Anonymous on April 14, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Your capitalization is so wrong it boggles the mind.

    • Gravedigger72 on April 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      With “Owe” ‘Malley out of Office, Larry Hogan won’t put a tax on it. But if “Owe”‘ Malley was still in office most likely he would put the “Rain Tax” on it since it was in the river!!! (:<)

  7. Mike Littorous on April 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Imagine how much our trash will be worth in 300 years.