St. Mary’s College of Maryland anthropology professor Julia King and her student crew members discovered a 17th-century signet ring with the initials “CC,” believed to be that of Charles Calvert, Third Lord Baltimore. King and her students found the artifact during a six-week excavation this summer at the Zekiah Fort, located in Waldorf, Md.
“If this is indeed his ring, it will be one of the few artifacts personalized to the Calvert family found in Maryland,” said King.
Charles Calvert lived at Mattapany, where the Patuxent River Naval Air Station is currently located, and was the only Lord Baltimore to live in Maryland. Calvert created the Zekiah Fort in 1680 as refuge for an estimated 320 Piscataway Indians, a powerful Indian nation in Maryland, after raids from Northern Maryland groups as well as encroaching English forced them from their ancestral lands.
“The one [person] that fits the context of the discovery best is Charles Calvert,” said King about the mystery “CC”-engraved ring. “This alone doesn’t mean it is him, but if it’s not him, we have no other viable candidate despite weeks of searching the records. It’s a mystery that we are trying to solve.”
Funded by a $125,000 grant from the Maryland Historical Trust and a $25,000 grant from the Charles County Board of Commissioners, the Zekiah Fort excavation was part of a multi-stop survey at Indian settlement sites in St. Mary’s, Charles and Prince George’s counties.
The excavations of the site have also yielded the discovery of glass trade beads, Indian and European tobacco pipes, gunflints, lead shot and Indian ceramics. Findings will be given to the state of Maryland for preservation strategies.