Wise Farmstead ca. 1880
This website documents the results of a remarkable collaboration of archaeologists, historians, and trail volunteers in the investigation and management of an important archaeological and historic site: The Wise Farmstead and Fox Gap Portion of the South Mountain Battlefield. The Wise Farmstead (ca 1858 to 1879) was the home and farm of Daniel Wise and his family, located in a beautiful ridge top setting on the crest of the Blue Ridge in central Maryland.
On September the 14th, 1862, Daniel Wise’s farm became the focus of a brutal and bloody encounter in the American Civil War. The Battle of the South Mountain was the first engagement of what has come to be known as the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the first invasion of the North by Southern forces. It was also the prelude to the Battle of Antietam, the war’s single bloodiest day, three days later near Sharpsburg Maryland.  

AT map showing Fox Gap, Ma
Wise’s Farm and much of the South Mountain Battlefield, are situated within the protective corridor of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT), on lands belonging to the National Park Service, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Central Maryland Heritage League (a local non-profit land trust). A unique partnership of all three landowning organizations, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Archaeological Services Program, and volunteers from some of the AT’s local and regional trail maintenance clubs has formed to conduct an archaeological inventory of the Fox Gap area.  
They will also produce a plan to manage, study, interpret and protect its rich historic legacy for future generations. The archaeological inventory is employing state-of-the-art technologies and traditional archaeological excavation techniques to reconstruct the history of this reach of the Maryland Blue Ridge. In the process, we’re training a cadre of dedicated trail volunteers in the identification, monitoring, and protection of the buried past, skills they can use everywhere from Georgia to Maine as they help to care for the historic resources of the Appalachian Trail!
Archaic Projectile Points

View of Old Sharpsburg Road at Fox Gap
Come along for the journey of discovery along America’s oldest National Scenic Trail! Visit the pages in this site to learn more about the project area’s history and the project’s background and goals, and read our reports from the field (posted shortly after we finish each weekend of work) to stay abreast of our progress. Don’t forget to visit our Contacts page. We look forward to hearing from you and we’ll try to answer all of your questions!

Note: Many thanks to the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conference, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Central Maryland Heritage League, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, and Preservation Maryland for providing support for this project! This website and the Wise Farmstead/Fox Gap Project is produced by the Archaeological Services Program, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.