Archaeologists uncover earliest free African-American settlement

In Easton, MD archeologists and historians are digging to find remnants from what they believe to be the oldest free African-American settlement. The Hill is located on the Eastern shore and dates back as far at 1790. 410 free African-Americans were recorded as living in the area and could surpass Treme, New Orleans as the oldest free black community in the nation.

According to Morgan State professor, Dale Green, who is helping lead the excavation, "What makes this unique is it's the oldest remaining African American neighborhood where free blacks lived continuously and is still in existence." "All over the nation" Green says, "there would have been free black populations of various sizes - but what happened over the years is they were completely obliterated."

The community recognized the need for achaeology and contacted Green. Green then brought in Mark Leone from the University of Maryland and now about 75 researchers from both universities and various local groups are contributing to The Hill project. Through their excavation they are finding evidence of what the residents did for a living and how they lived side-by-side with their white neighbors.

The team is committed to spending five more years on The Hill.