Visitors had an opportunity to help discover and identify bits of the past last month during Historic St. Mary's City's Tidewater Archaeology Weekend.

Participants joined archaeologists excavating Garrett Vansweringen's Colonial inn and coffeehouse in the heart of the Maryland's first capital.

Vansweringen, a Dutch immigrant, was one of the colony's first entrepreneurs. He was an innkeeper, brewer and probably a baker. Artifacts found at the site of his inn indicate that he also may have provided medical services.

Historic St. Mary's City will celebrate Maryland's first families during Woodland Indian Discovery Day on Sept. 10. Visitors will be able to participate in bead- and rattle-making, archery, cordage, flint-knapping and other skills of the Yaocomaco people native to the St. Mary's River area.

Ellie Brookbank, 8, of Mechanicsville, left, and William Huber, 7, of Leonardtown sift through chunks of dirt in search of artifacts July 30 during the annual Tidewater Archaeology Weekend at Historic St. Mary's City. Bill Farrar of Lexington Park, a living-history interpreter, warns visitors before firing a deck gun off the bow of the Maryland Dove on July 30. Below, visitors cover their ears. More than 500 people participated in the archaeology event, which featured a variety of exhibits from the Colonial and pre-Colonial periods.