Archaeologist Julie Schablitsky believes she has found the site on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman lived with her family during her teenage years, state and federal officials announced Tuesday, per The Washington Post.
Schablitsky, who works for Maryland’s State Highway Administration, had been searching in the isolated area in Dorchester County for signs of the long-vanished cabin for some time when she found a coin from 1808 with her metal detector that suggested she had finally hit the jackpot. After that, officials said, bricks, pottery, a button, and a slew of other household items — all dated to the right time — further pointed to the location being the site of the property owned by Tubman’s father, Ben Ross, whose enslaver freed him and granted him the piece of land. Tubman and her siblings were still enslaved (and their parents were far from safe) while they sheltered there.
The discovery is likely a crucial one and should help provide a lot of context to the famed abolitionist’s story, experts told the Post. The wooded area where the cabin stood became Tubman’s “classroom,” biographer Kate Clifford Larson told the Post, explaining that it’s likely where, with the help of her “committed” father, Tubman learned how to survive in such terrain and “read the night sky,” skills that aided her during her days as a clandestine Underground Railroad conductor. Read more about the discovery at The Washington Post.