When your job is writing about history, it's hard to have a week better than the one just past.
One of Jamestown's oldest riddles was finally answered in pretty conclusive fashion by the butchered skull of a 14-year-old English girl -- and this first landmark physical evidence of the desperate cannibalism that sustained the survivors of the so-called Starving Time became a national news sensation. (See our follow-up on the new exhibit)
That's not the first time Jamestown Rediscovery archaeology director Bill Kelso and his peerless team have rewritten history on a national scale, however. And the struggle to found the first permanent English settlement in the New World was just the first of many milestones that have taken place in Hampton Roads over the past 400 years.
From the Golden Age of Piracy, the Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War to the foreign wars of the 20th Century and the space race, our region has not only witnessed but helped shape and define many of the most disruptive and seminal moments in American history. Few places have had such long and sustained importance -- or so many stories of such human drama and consequence that they bear repeating.
That's what we're trying to embrace here with our new Hampton Roads history blog and online story collection, where we hope to share those tales in a way that will not only illuminate but also underscore our region's singular historical character and importance. This is a place where the past isn't dead -- and that's because so many of things that happened here were not only genuinely consequential but also pretty exciting.
So please take at our new page at dailypress.com/features/history as well our Facebook page at Hampton Roads History. No place else can tell you as well where we come from.
This Saturday and Sunday, too, I'll be at the Hampton History Museum's Hunt for Hampton History signing copies of the book compiled from a series of stories I wrote in 2012 on Hampton Roads' indispensable but too little known role in the Golden Age of Piracy. Stop by any time between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and noon-2 p.m. Sunday and you may get a free poster of Jamestown or the USS Monitor. We're giving them away if you like our page on Facebook. -- Mark St. John Erickson
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