Much is known about the 6-month-old who died in Maryland 300 years ago and was buried in a small lead-covered coffin. Yet there is no record of the child’s death — or birth. No one knew for certain who the infant was. No one knew if the baby was a boy or girl.
Now, almost 26 years after the coffin was unearthed in St. Mary’s County, experts at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have learned that the baby was a boy — and the offspring of an important colonial governor of Maryland, Philip Calvert. The discovery came about through new genetic testing done at Harvard Medical School at the request of the Smithsonian.