MHT File Photo
Somerset Academy Archeological Site
The Somerset Academy was a large and important private school that operated between the years 1767 and 1797. The school consisted of a complex of buildings that served both teaching and residential functions. The main buildings of the complex were two large teaching and exhibition halls built c. 1769 and c. 1776 respectively. Each of these buildings had exterior dimensions larger than 20 x 60 feet, and were probably of frame construction on brick foundations or brick piers. A system of landscaped pathways connected these buildings and the other, smaller structures that made up the Academy. The Somerset Academy site has remained substantially undisturbed since the destruction by fire of the above-ground portions of the Academy buildings in 1797. Archeological testing at the Academy site has demonstrated that the site has subsurface integrity.
The Somerset Academy site is the only archeologically identified late-colonial school site known for the state of Maryland. The site was in use for a limited period of time, 1767-1797, and has been subjected to only superficial disturbance since its abandonment at the end of the 18th century. The Somerset Academy was one of the principal educational institutions in Maryland before, during, and after the American Revolution. The Academy site has associations with major historical figures of the Revolutionary War period. The archeological record that is preserved at the site is highly important to our understanding of the intellectual, social, and political history of late-18th century America. The survival of this site as a substantially intact archeological entity makes it a uniquely available cultural resource of profound significance.