Archaeology and the Chesapeake

Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


The Chesapeake Bay has evoked a steady stream of interest and written comment from its observers. Spanish mariners made note of a great bay in the middle reaches of the North American continent’s Atlantic coast by the first quarter of the sixteenth century. In the early seventeenth century, Captain John Smith, promoting English settlement through virtual biblical metaphor, described it as a place where “heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man’s habitation.” Almost three centuries later, H. L. Mencken, the noted Baltimore journalist, more succinctly portrayed the Chesapeake Bay as “one giant protein factory.” The Bay, as it is colloquially known, continues to inspire contemporary writers from James Michener to William Warner to John Barth. Those who write about it are no doubt influenced by the Chesapeake Bay’s phenomenal ecological richness as well as by its distinctive folk, sense of place, and seemingly timeless quality. It is evident to many that this is a special place that has somehow uniquely shaped and defined its inhabitants.


Archaeological Record North American Continent Late Archaic Archaic Period Middle Woodland 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press 1995

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