Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Advisor 1

Liam Frink, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Jiemin Bao

Second Committee Member

Karen Harry

Graduate Faculty Representative

Joseph Fry

Number of Pages



The work presented in this thesis is an attempt to shed light on the early colonial development of Maryland's Eastern Shore and its possible relationship with current settlement patterns in the region, with particular interest in Kent County. Traditional interpretations of the lack of urban development on the Eastern Shore, both in the Colonial era and the present, have tended to focus on environmental and geographical factors. This research seeks to examine this trend toward rural living in newer and broader ways by incorporating human agency and investigating the possibility that the lack of town development during the Colonial era could reflect intentional resistance to urban living on the part of colonial plantation owners and small-scale farmers. This work addresses a series of significant questions concerning possible influences on individual and group motives as well as the political and religious factors involved in the early development of Kent County. In an effort to address these questions, several issues will be examined. The first involves how groups living in the region during the Colonial period interacted with each other and the Proprietors of Maryland. The second concerns how contact with European culture and social norms may have influenced town development. The third deals with the impact of early economic and agricultural endeavors, and finally, how the region's relative isolation may have worked to convince early residents that town development was not feasible and/or undesirable.

Historic documents (deeds, wills, early maps, paintings, census records) and archaeological investigations of the several colonial sites along Eastern Neck as well as the site thought to represent the town of New Yarmouth, Eastern Neck, Maryland were all examined. The results of this work will help to explain how communities developed on the Eastern Shore and Kent County in particular, during the colonial period, as well as to shed light on how the historic propensity to resist urbanization may influence the present trend toward rural living versus urban development in the region.


Archaeological sites; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Colonial period; Eastern shore; Kent county; Maryland; New Yarmouth; Rural living; Settlement patterns; Urban development; Western shore


Archaeological Anthropology | Cultural History | United States History

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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