Bay Journal

Past is Prologue

Market offers customers a pageful of Chesapeake Bay history

Chesapeake history resides not only in the 17th and 18th centuries, a period we generally associate with early European contact. Sometimes we simply run into situations that take us back three generations or so to a time when the Bay was different from what it is today.

A lifetime, from childhood to twilight years, can span more than two generations and the insights one person can retain over that time are invaluable.

Mike Hirshfield of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and I had a conversation some years ago in which he gave name to a concept we’d both been thinking about. “Serial memory loss” he said, describing the phenomenon where each generation defines the Bay in terms of its earliest memories, or at least in terms of the stories they heard in childhood. The result is that, as the Bay degrades, so do people’s expectations for what constitutes a suitable environment. ... [Continue Reading]

Arrows point to technically skilled native cultures

The December Past is Prologue focused on the bow, but where would the bow be without the arrow? My Uncle Frank Mountford said that in his time as a serious archer - during the 1940s and '50s - "we made our own arrows. It was part of...


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About Past is Prologue

Longtime Bay scientist and ecological historian Kent Mountford offers a historical insight to the Chesapeake’s past, and present.

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