Fifteen years ago this April, my wife, Nancy, and I sailed with two guests down the chilly Patuxent River to Myrtle Point.We anchored well inside the Mill Creek end of this embayment in what old timers called Sam Abell's Cove.Archaeologists had surveyed this point and small harbor in 1986-1987 because the entire peninsula had been slated for a massive condominium, conference center and marina complex that would have wiped out any hints of the past from this forest and farmland site.

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The resulting 600 bushels quite likely staved off starvation at the settlement that difficult winter.

At the time, ceramic beads were unknown to American Indians, but beads of many natural materials were common. Pocahontas was said to have worn a necklace of chinquapins (a small chestnut-like nut) that native people were known to eat right off the deer tendon sinew thread on which they were strung.

Other beads for adornment were frequently sewn onto leather as decoration.

The surveyors were pretty sure this was the site a 17th century settlement called Harvey Town, and they found at least two early colonial home sites.

We took our guests ashore to this undeveloped peninsula for a shoreline hike.

Each of us found some small treasure, among them some quartz flakes from the American Indian habitation here that goes back thousands of years.

Nancy, who looked daily through a microscope in her lab identifying marine organisms, had a very sharp eye for anything unusual. Examining her treasure, I thought yes, exactly like Capt. In January 1608, Smith had served as interpreter for Capt.

Stopping in her tracks, she picked up a small blue object. Christopher Newport, who was seeking to ingratiate himself with Powhatan, the Indian leader with whom they were negotiating for large quantities of corn the settlers desperately needed.

As they negotiated, Smith kept showing Powhatan trade goods, carefully putting aside some blue beads, which caught the paramount chieftain's eye.