The predecessor of the McMansion (17th c. Maryland)

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Anne Arundel County archaeologists knew they were looking for one of 18th-century Maryland's rich and famous.

Samuel Chew was a well-connected Quaker planter and merchant, and his home on a knoll above the Chesapeake Bay was an early landmark, used by ship captains to guide them into the tobacco port of Herrington, on Herring Bay.

But no one expected this.

Months of digging to uncover the foundation walls of the Chew House have revealed one of the largest, most opulent Colonial homes in the Chesapeake region during the early 18th century.

Rubble lifted from the cellar hole speaks of elaborate, molded brickwork, polished marble and hand-painted imported tiles.

Most amazing of all, the 2 1/2 -story, hip-roofed mansion appears to have been bigger than the original Governor's Palace at Williamsburg, Va. - an extraordinary 66 feet on each side, says county archaeologist Al Luckenbach.

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