Example of what Fort Tolonoway may have looked like.

Six-to-Fix: Finding Fort Tonoloway: Investigative Preservation Project & New Public Report

10/27/2020
By Preservation Maryland

After months of exhaustive research, Preservation Maryland and its consultant, Rivanna Archaeological Services, completed the effort to trace the history, context, and potential location of the long-missing French and Indian War-era Fort Tonoloway on Maryland’s Western Frontier.

Briefly, Fort Tonoloway was built in 1755 in modern-day Washington County by Lieutenant Thomas Stoddert and men of the Maryland militia. Garrisoned for only a year, the Fort was abandoned in 1756 when nearby Fort Frederick was established. In the ensuing 263 years, the precise location of the fort has been lost. Support for this initial phase to find the Fort came from the American Battlefield Protection Program and The Society of the Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland.

The report completed by the Virginia-based Rivanna Archaeological Services provides one of the most in-depth and scholarly studies ever produced of life and history on Maryland’s eighteenth-century frontier and the interaction between local civilians, Native Americans, and military forces. A reconnaissance survey was completed and the results were mapped using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Rivanna has also completed an in-depth military terrain analysis. Historic and modern maps are generously included in the nearly 150-page report.

As required by the project parameters, the consultants established several areas of archaeological potential where through historical records and contextual landscape evidence there is a likelihood of recovering artifacts or features of the short-lived frontier fort. Fortunately, those areas rest entirely on publicly owned land – an ideal outcome that provides an opportunity for investigation and excavation under the watchful eye of a professional archaeologist.

Archaeologists conducting a site survey to find Fort Tonoloway in Maryland, 2019.

Archaeologists conducting a site survey to find Fort Tonoloway in Maryland, 2019.

Moving forward, Preservation Maryland plans to continue its work with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and other partners to secure the necessary funds for this component of the project and to finally find Fort Tonoloway.

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