Bladensburg Archaeology

Maritime History


During the 18th century, local boats and European ships transported goods to and from Bladensburg. From the 1750s through the 1770s, the town saw the construction of: two bridges which replaced the ferry; portside wharves and warehouses; and the construction of Christopher Lowndes' ropewalk and shipyard. The workers for these businesses were indentured servants and enslaved people of African descent.

Commodities transported into and out of Bladensburg, beyond tobacco, included the export of wheat and flour, corn, lumber, naval stores such as rope, and iron, and the import of West Indian luxuries of spices, chocolate, rum and sugar, as well as substantial amounts of diverse European goods such as furniture, textiles, jewelry and other luxury items, house wares and dry goods. In addition, indentured servants were brought to Bladensburg from England, Scotland and Ireland; a high percentage of whom were probably convicts as this was common practice in Britain until after the Revolution when they were then transported to Australia. There was not a slave market in Bladensburg and instead slaves were landed for sale either in Annapolis or on the Patuxent at ports like Benedict.