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Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Darnallís Chance Burial Vault

 
 
Darnall's Chance Burial Vault Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
1. Darnall's Chance Burial Vault Marker
Inscription. An 18th century underground brick burial vault containing the remains of nine unidentified individuals was discovered in 1987 during an archaeological survey of the rear yard.

Evidence suggests that the vault was built by James Wardrop, a wealthy Upper Marborough merchant who built the large brick dwelling house in 1742. The only archival reference to the vault is a 1788 deed which made mention of “...the small square of ground in the garden which covers the family vault to which vault ... heirs are to have from time to time access.”

In 1990, an archaeological excavation of the vault was conducted in order to gather information for its future restoration and interpretation. During the excavation, it was discovered that the interior of the vault was completely filled with 18th and 19th century household trash and building debris. The trash is thought to have originated from a nearby kitchen midden (trashpot) and was dumped into the vault through two large openings in the collapsed roof.

Forensic anthropologists from the Smithsonian Institution assisted
Entrance to Darnall's Chance Burial Vault image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
2. Entrance to Darnall's Chance Burial Vault
in the recovery of the human skeletal remains found on the vault floor. The skeletal remains were then transferred to the Museum of Natural History for study and analysis. The restoration of the roof, steps and su-crypt were completed in 2002 and the remains were re-interred in 2004.

(Caption to photographs in the lower left of the marker) Thousands of 18th and 19th century household and personal artifacts were recovered from the burial vault. Examples include Pearlware sugarbowl 1790 - 1810, green shell edged Pearlware plate 1800 - 1830, delft jar lid mid 1700ís, bone toothbrushes late 1700ís, white salt-glazed earthenware mid 1700ís and food remains (oyster shells and pig and fowl bones).

(Caption of diagram on upper right side of marker) The interior of the vault is ten feet wide by seventeen feet long and accessed by a stairway that is covered by modern wooden floors.

(Caption of photo on middle right side of marker) Interred in the vault are nine Caucasians including one adult male, two adult females, two children and four infants (under the age of one year). Radioisotope
Front of Darnall's Chance image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
3. Front of Darnall's Chance
readings taken of the teeth of the five oldest individuals determined that they were native-born Americans. The presence of numerous cavities and slight arthritis suggest that they lived a sedentary lifestyle featuring a sugar rich diet and light work load.

(Caption of photo on lower right side of marker) The adult male (age 40 - 54) was interred in a wooden coffin and then buried in a brick sub-crypt. The remaining individuals were also interred in wooden coffins and placed on bricks that rested on the clay floor.
 
Location. 38° 49.168′ N, 76° 44.974′ W. Marker is in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in Prince George's County. Marker can be reached from Governor Oden Bowie Drive west of Marlboro Pike (Maryland Route 202). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro MD 20772, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Tried for Treason (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Schoolhouse Pond (about 500 feet away); John Rogers (1723 - 1789)
Back of Darnall's Chance image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
4. Back of Darnall's Chance
(about 800 feet away); The Walk of History (approx. 0.2 miles away); William Beanes (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dr. William Beanes (approx. 0.2 miles away); Turn of Events (approx. 0.2 miles away); This White Oak Tree (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Upper Marlboro.
 
More about this marker. This marker is on the grounds of a mansion named Darnallís Chance. Darnallís Chance has a historical society, one of whose members informed the photographer that other markers would be erected on the grounds.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesNotable Buildings
 
South end of Darnall's Chance image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
5. South end of Darnall's Chance
Northwest corner of Darnall's Chance image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, July 2, 2007
6. Northwest corner of Darnall's Chance
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 11, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,972 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 11, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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