Don’t expect National Airport’s Chief Archaeologist Henry Ward to tell you why the last crab cake you ate tasted as if it had been buried since the colonial era. When Ward gives a lecture titled “From the Ground Up: An Archaeological Perspective on the Development of Chesapeake Cuisine,” he’ll likely draw on the wealth of information culled from the restoration of the remains of Abingdon, a 6,000-acre plantation once situated near the airport and best known as the birthplace of Nelly Parke Custis, George Washington’s favorite granddaughter. Though only part of the brick foundation of the main house and kitchen remain, archaeological digs at the site have yielded many 18th-century artifacts that no doubt offer Ward insight into the origins of our region’s distinctive fare, if not into why it’s so hard to get a decent crab cake today. He lectures at 7:30 p.m. at Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria. $5. (703) 549-2997. (Daniel Searing)