Newswise — St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has been awarded a $24,000 Chesapeake Material Cultural Studies Grant from The Conservation Fund.

The grant will advance the College’s work using archaeological artifacts to examine how Native American groups in the Chesapeake’s major river drainages responded to the region’s occupation by European settlers. SMCM Professor of anthropology Julia A. King and Project Archaeologist/GIS Specialist Scott M. Strickland will compare artifact collections from 17th- and 18th-century Native sites in Maryland and Virginia to document post-Contact Indian lifeways and experiences. King and Strickland will be assisted by consultants from the Piscataway and Rappahannock tribes and a Native archaeologist.

The Conservation Fund—a national nonprofit dedicated to providing environmental solutions that make economic sense for communities—presented grants to SMCM and 10 other research, education and historical institutions and specialists to support the conservation, preservation and study of cultural artifacts from the Chesapeake region dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

“Funding from The Conservation Fund provides an excellent opportunity to understand how the Chesapeake region’s many Indian groups shaped the colonial encounter,” Scott Strickland noted. “Tribal participation in this project will provide an important but often missing Native perspective for interpreting early American history.”  

Ranging from $15,000 to $25,000, the Chesapeake Material Cultural Studies Grants will help further research and expand current knowledge of artifact collections from previously excavated archaeological sites at Jamestown, Martin’s Hundred, Carter’s Grove, Kingsmill and other locations in the Chesapeake region to better understand and interpret the colony’s first settlers and their response to the new environment and climate.

“American history is intrinsically connected to the land. In Virginia and especially in the Chesapeake region, our land can tell a variety of stories going back multiple centuries,” said Heather Richards, Virginia state director for The Conservation Fund. “While we at The Conservation Fund focus on protecting the places where history happens and conserving important natural resources, we depend on our peers in the archeological field to research and interpret how human lives intersected with these places. We are honored to support St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s ongoing work.”

A full list of the eleven Chesapeake Material Cultural Studies Grant recipients can be found here:

About St. Mary's College

St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the National Public Honors College, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including nearly 70,000 acres in Virginia.