Archaeologists' Puzzle: Where Was Plymouth Colony?
Researchers conducting major dig to find site of original settlement
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 28, 2014 2:35 PM CDT
This undated photo provided by Plymouth Plantation shows costumed interpreters of colonial life.   (AP Photo/Plimoth Plantation)

(Newser) – It's one of the most important sites in the history of the United States—but we still don't know where, exactly, it was. That's why University of Massachusetts archaeologists are digging for signs of the original Plymouth colony, the Boston Globe reports. The borders of today's Plymouth don't quite match those of the Pilgrims' settlement, which was marked by palisades built in 1622 around a hilltop fort. The town "is well situated upon a high hill close unto the seaside," wrote a visitor in 1623, describing a plantation of 20 houses, as Smithsonian notes.

The area hadn't been dug up before because of the potential for running into unmarked graves. But ground-penetrating radar allowed researchers to ensure they wouldn't hit any. They're digging around the sites of 19th-century buildings that may have been built over 17th-century houses. The wood of the palisades will have rotted away, but stains left in the soil could show where they once were, says an archaeologist. (Last year saw the auction of a Plymouth book of Bible verses—making it the world's most expensive book.)

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 30, 2014 8:30 PM CDT
This might be good to know. We are having Thanksgiving in a couple weeks because I'm going to do a test run in November for my Schengen Visa plans and I'll be gone Nov-Jan for my first 90 day stay in Europe in advance of January 2017 when Hillary is installed as the next dictator in chief. So we usually do the Squanto stuff and its nice having new material to discuss.
$6016145
Jun 29, 2014 9:18 PM CDT
I think they are talking about the colony started by the Puritans in what later became Plymouth Mass. The Mayflower which sailed from Plymouth, England, and in Nov., 1620, sighted the coast of Cape Cod instead of Virginia, which they were looking for. In December, after five weeks spent in exploring the coast, the ship finally anchored in what they re-named Plymouth harbor, and the Pilgrims established a settlement. Notables were the Capt. Miles Standish; John Carver the first Governor; William Bradford; and the Winslow Brothers. Interestingly, the initial charter of the colony had called for a socialist commune system for agriculture and food distribution, which nearly destroyed the entire colony from starvation. Finally, the mentioned Bradford wisely abolished this system , and instituted a more successful plan of personal land ownership and concurrent self responsibility for food production.
Imhotep
Jun 29, 2014 8:13 AM CDT
Would be nice if they were more specific. Are we talking about the Captain John Smith settlement with 13 year old Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan. And get this, the first thing the settlers did was look for gold. Not fish, not build, not plow, but look for gold. The tradition lives on. These dunderheads eventually resorted to cannibalism to stay alive when the expected ships never arrived. Due of course to some argument over money and investments. Typical. Things never change. The historical society has probably selected the time period when we were strong enough to slaughter and subjugate the Indians . Then things started to go the American way. Norman Rockwell showed up a few weeks later.