Archaeology Citizen Science Projects at SERC

Sellman Plantation at SERC comprises 500 acres of primarily agricultural land and the historic Sellman House.  The area is rife with history just waiting to be explored, and that’s exactly what citizen scientists are doing as part of several active archaeology projects at the plantation.  All fall within the field of environmental archaeology: the study of the relationship between the land and the people that lived on it.  Environmental archaeology is an important field because it allows us to study the complex ways in which we humans interacted with our environment.

SERC archaeologist Jim Gibb leads the projects.  Three major research questions address erosion and sedimentation, species diversity, and coal versus wood fuel usage at Sellman Plantation. Volunteers and scientists are trying to answer these questions by recovering artifacts and examining the soil at the site.  Learn more about the methods volunteers use.

History of Sellman Plantation

Many generations of the Sellman family owned this property from 1729-c.1916, at which time they sold it to the Kirkpatrick-Howat family, who owned the land until SERC acquired it in 2008.  We know less about residents before the Sellmans, which is part of what the archaeological dig hopes to uncover. 

Learn more about the property in this SERC blog post, or visit the history page for a timeline of notable events related to the site and its residents.

Want to get involved?

Learn about the schedule, eligibility, what volunteers do and why they’re so important to this project here.

We have two Archaeology Dig Days, which are appropriate for all ages, scheduled for Saturday, October 11 and Saturday, October 18.  Contact Alison Cawood (, 443-482-2271) to sign up or for more information.

Recent Discoveries:


Lateen spoon


Wood Chisel 

See more artifacts and their stories here.