Colonists Loved Pickin’ Crabs

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soft crabs 6.3.12

Colonists and Native Americans didn’t need Old Bay. A new study says the people who settled near the Chesapeake Bay ate more crabs than previously thought.

According to Smithsonian Science, archaeologists used to think that Native Americans and the English colonists didn’t eat crabs because they didn’t find many shells at dig sites. But a new review revealed more than 900 crab shells, indicating that crabs were at least some part of their diet. The shells were even found at George Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon.

Past archaeologists weren’t necessarily lazy. They just didn’t have the technology necessary to examine shell specimens. Crab shells and claws are notoriously fragile, and often break apart over time. Adding another reason to be jealous of the founding fathers, the new study also shows that crabs were bigger back then.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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