Digging for History
In preparation for renovations to Northeast Baltimore’s historic Clifton Mansion, UB archaeologist in residence Mechelle Kerns (left) embarked on excavations and archaeological testing last August.
Kerns returned to the mansion this spring to lead extensive excavations in search of artifacts from the mid-19th century. Work focused on a brick floor covered by concrete for more than 80 years.
Clifton Mansion was built for Baltimore merchant Henry Thompson, and the structure was completed in 1801. Thompson amassed roughly 260 acres, which he turned into a plantation worked by paid employees, indentured servants and slaves. In 1841, Johns Hopkins purchased the estate as a summer home and intended to establish a university at the site. Toward the end of the 1800s, Baltimore city purchased the estate from Hopkins and turned it into a park.
This project is the first in an effort by UB to assist the city with managing its cultural resources.