Meet NASGA’s 2015 Sea Glass Festival Lecturer, Patricia Samford

The North American Sea Glass Association’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, Maryland will be held August 29-30th, 2015 and will feature three lectures on Saturday.  Each of the lectures will offer attendees a unique look into the historical significance of objects found along the region’s DelMarVa shorelines, and we’ll also have a lecture on Greek Sea Glass.

Patricia Samford, Director, MAC Lab
Patricia Samford, Director, MAC Lab

The first lecturer featured is Patricia Samford, from the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab (MAC Lab) located in southern Maryland.  The MAC Lab is a state-of-the-art archaeological research, conservation, and curation facility located at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, the State Museum of Archaeology, in southern Maryland. The MAC Lab serves as a clearinghouse for archaeological collections recovered from land-based and underwater projects conducted by State and Federal agencies throughout Maryland.

 

NASGA: Patricia, thank you for participating in the North American Sea Glass Association’s 10th Annual Sea Glass Festival in Ocean City, both as a presenter, and as a Shard ID expert on Saturday and Sunday.  We’re excited to have you join us this year. 

 NASGA: You’ve studied both land and marine archaeology, specializing in ceramics and pottery. What is your favorite part about doing what you do?

 The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, where I work, has over 8 million archaeological artifacts from across the state.  Ceramics and glass make up a good portion of the collections from sites that date after European contact.  Having those collections at my fingertips and being able to share them with the public through our Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland website (http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/index.htm) is one of my favorite parts of my job.

NASGA: Is there a favorite beach that you like to frequent and refer to it as “your beach?”

My favorite beaches would have to be those of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  I have not found that much sea glass there, but I am intrigued by all the shipwrecks off these shores, often referred to as “the graveyard of the Atlantic”.

MAC Lab Director Patricia Samford shows CSM President Brad Gottfried a canoe dating to 210 A.D. which is currently in the freeze drier to preserve it. The canoe has been soaked in a special solution that helps the cells retain their shape during the freeze-drying process. The vacuum removes the moisture as vapor through sublimation. The canoe will be weighed weekly and when the canoe's weight stabilizes the freeze drying is complete.
MAC Lab Director Patricia Samford shows College of Southern Maryland President Brad Gottfried a canoe dating to 210 A.D. which is currently in the freeze drier to preserve it. The canoe has been soaked in a special solution that helps the cells retain their shape during the freeze-drying process. The vacuum removes the moisture as vapor through sublimation. The canoe will be weighed weekly and when the canoe’s weight stabilizes the freeze drying is complete.                                                                    Photo Credits: College of Southern Maryland

NASGA: You’ve traveled to many different places and walked many beaches during your travels. Where is your favorite place to collect?

I will be traveling to Scotland this summer and I look forward to beachcombing in the Outer Hebrides.  I hear that British sea glass is a rare treat!

 NASGA: Do you have any beaches on your “bucket list?” 

 I would love to visit Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, California.  The photographs I have seen of this beach are amazing.

 

NASGA: Do you have a memorable beach-combing experience you can share with us?   And what did you find?

 This was not beachcombing per se, but I lived in a small town in North Carolina on a tidal creek.  A nor’easter blew the water out of the creek and a friend and I were able to walk out on the creek bottom and pick up pieces of pottery from the 1700 and early 1800s, when the townspeople used the creek as their trash dump.

 NASGA: Aside from collecting and aside from your expert experiences, what are some of your other interests or hobbies? 

 I love to travel and have quite a few countries I would like to visit (not all of them with beaches!).  I also enjoy reading about the past and imagining what life was like to past generations.

 NASGA: Thank you for sharing your story.  We’re looking forward to the Ocean City festival and your presentation and expertise in ceramics and pottery. 

Patricia Samford’s Lecture Information:                                                                         Beyond Sea Glass: Identifying Sea Pottery
Saturday, August 29th   1pm – 2PM
Patricia Samford, Director, Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, St. Leonard, Maryland

Patricia Samford

Tucked away amongst the fragments of beautiful beach glass you have picked up over the years, there are probably more than a few fragments of pottery as well. Have you ever wondered how to identify and date them? If so, be sure to attend a talk given by Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab Director, Patricia Samford. Using examples of colonial and post-colonial pottery from the Lab’s collections, Dr. Samford will provide tips for identifying and dating your pieces based on paste color, hardness and decoration. Patricia will also be on hand all weekend long as a Shard ID expert. Attendees are welcome to bring their sea pottery for identification.

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