Do you have any information on an archaeology study done on the Elk River about ten or fifteen years ago?

— Andrew Dyals

In the autumn of 1999, two graduate students finishing advanced degrees in archeology, part of a team exploring the sunken mysteries of the Elk River in the vicinity of Elkton, spent several weeks looking for history submerged under the waterway. Michael Plakos and Mike Hughes were the East Carolina University scholars conducting the investigation.

After the researchers spotted the hull of an old ship in the vicinity of Frenchtown, they dove down to the wreckage to map it and retrieve artifacts. When the British came up the Elk River to Frenchtown on April 29, 1813, the local militia was forced to retreat as the enemy stormed ashore.

The attackers started burning the village, destroying quantities of flour and military goods. Two vessels moored in the river were also destroyed. One was run aground and burned. The other, a Baltimore – Frenchtown packet was burned. They worked under the supervision of Stephen Bilicki, the assistant underwater archeologist for Maryland. He came back to complete a phase I survey of the Upper Elk River. This type of studies identifies archeological sites and resources in a designated area.

– Mike Dixon

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