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HSMC’s Miller Earns Archaeology Award

Archaeology

Historic St. Mary’s City archaeologist Henry M. Miller received the J.C. Harrington Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology earlier this year at a ceremony in Boston. It is the highest international award for the profession of historical archaeology.

Named for J. C. “Pinky” Harrington, a founder of the field who conducted early work at Jamestown, Yorktown, and other sites for the National Park Service, the award is given for scholarly contributions to the field. Since its initiation in 1981, only 35 people have received this award.

Historic St. Mary’s City archaeologist Henry M. Miller received the J. C. Harrington Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology in January 2020.

Miller began at St. Mary’s City in 1972 and later served as the museum’s archaeology curator and director of research. Beginning in 2015, he became the first Maryland Heritage Scholar. He has also long been an adjunct professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College, teaching his first class there in 1974.

Much of Miller’s career has been devoted to early Maryland and its first capital of St. Mary’s City. His efforts have resulted in the discovery that the city was not the scattered gaggle of buildings as was assumed by historians but an elaborately planned urban place, laid out using new and sophisticated ideas of baroque planning.  Among his major projects was the excavation of Chapel Field, which led to the finding of Andrew White’s 1635 wooden chapel, the impressive 1660s Brick Chapel, and an early rectory.

This work also led to the remarkable discovery of three lead coffins buried inside the brick church in 1990.  The lead coffins were investigated in 1992 as part of a major scientific project involving 150 scientists, historians, chemists, and other specialists which brought international attention to St. Mary’s City and led to the identification of the coffin occupants as members of Maryland’s founding family – the Calverts.

Besides decades of work in Maryland, Miller has excavated sites and conducted analysis in Arkansas, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Ireland.

Miller continues to conduct research and write about Maryland history and archaeology for Historic St. Mary’s City with one book in press and two more planned.  He and wife Carol live in Hollywood.

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