Plimoth Plantation

This Friday we took advantage of Home School Day at Plimoth Plantation. In honor of the occasion I thought I would share what I learned:

  1. Touring Plimoth Plantation is much more pleasant when it is not raining than when it is.

  2. The relationship between the English settlers and the Wampanoag was by no means friendly, more like judicious caution

  3. The original Wampanoag settlement where Plymouth now stands was completely wiped out by European disease long before the Mayflower landed.

  4. The Wampanoag were not migratory. They settled permanent locations and were organized by clans, each of which was named after a important indigenous animal

  5. The ceremonial markings found on a native person are deeply personal and do not necessarily have any tribal meaning,

  6. There is a really cool Native American working there named Bob.

  7. Deer brains are an essential component of the tanning process, because of the enzymes and fats located there.

  8. The Wampanoag canoe-like vessel was called a mishoon and was made from a burned out log. The vessels were hardy enough to be ocean going and when capsized would immediately right themselves because they were extremely bottom heavy. The modern day Native staff have successfully rowed them from Plymouth to Martha’s Vineyard.

  9. The thatch on the roofs of both the Wampanoag and English Home sites traditionally used to last three years. Now due to acid rain, they must be replaced annually.

  10. The Eel river used to be fresh water, but now has turned brackish.

  11. The traditional frame home of the Wampanoag used to be covered with the heavy outer bark of elm, which was favored because of its hardness and longevity. Since Dutch Elm disease, this is no longer possible.

  12. It is cruelly ironic that we pushed the Native Peoples out to the West in reservations. In their religion the medicine wheel’s cardinal points each have a specific meaning – West refers to the afterlife.

  13. The roots of religious intolerance in America go WAY back,

  14. All of the homes in the English settlement were nearly identical, with a single room, a loft overhead, over sized hearth area and heavily peaked roofs.

  15. English Tourists still visit their former colonies.

  16. The English settlers had cannon on top of their meeting house/church.

  17. The settlement produced nothing other than subsistence crops – everything else came from England.

  18. The Micmac tribes of New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland, and Northern Maine surface mined copper and other precious metals and trade with the Wampanoag for food, primarily because of their extremely short growing season.

  19. The idea that and arrow design, pattern, or fletching could be traced to a specific tribe is a product of Hollywood. Specifically, it was brought to us by John Wayne movies.

  20. My chip carving isn’t that bad.

  21. The Plymouth area as a solid layer of clay virtually everywhere three feet below the surface, so pottery was easily produced.

  22. The English must have all been slowly being poisoned by lead from all the pewter and pottery glazing that contaminated their food.

  23. Early spring was the leanest time of year.

  24. Shortly after Plymouth was founded and became successful there was a massive influx of English – On the order of six fold almost overnight.

  25. The original Mayflower rotted.

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