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Pits, Post, and Palisades: The Archaeology of the 17th-century Plymouth Colony Settlement on Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts

November 11, 2019 @ 6:00 am - 6:00 pm EST

Assumption College, Curtis Performance Hall (TFAC 120)
500 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609

AIA Society: Worcester

This event at Assumption College will be among the first in the nation to memorialize the arrival of the Pilgrims and the establishment of a permanent settlement in what would become the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many events will be taking place next year, but ours is timed conveniently close to Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims tend to be on people’s minds anyway…. We are fortunate to have as our speaker Dr. David B. Landon, the archaeologist responsible for the NEH Grant sponsored excavations from 2015-2017 which uncovered the original location of the Plimoth settlement and challenged many received opinions about the cooperation and relations between the settlers and the native peoples at that time. Co-sponsored by the Human Arts Series and the Medieval and early Modern Studies Program, the lecture will be following by a reception in the lobby of the Tsotsis Family Academic Building.

Lecture Summary: “Project 400: The Plymouth Colony Archaeological Survey” has been engaged in a multi-year effort to discover archaeological remains of the original 17th-century Plymouth Colony settlement. This is a collaborative project of the University of Massachusetts Boston, Plimoth Plantation, and the Town of Plymouth, working to uncover new evidence of the early settlement period in the lead up to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s arrival (1620-2020). The last several years of fieldwork have focused on Burial Hill, where evidence of the early settlement dating from ca. 1620-1650 has been preserved at the edge of an extensive and important historic cemetery. The archaeological excavations have uncovered sections of at least two buildings, yard and workspaces outside the buildings, and a contemporaneous Wampanoag occupation area. During the 2019 excavation season the first section of the palisade wall that surrounded the English settlement was also discovered. This presentation showcases the results of these investigations, highlighting the types of artifacts unearthed, the evidence for the earliest building construction methods, the first interpretations of the palisade wall, and the relationship between the English and Wampanoag settlements. The archaeological results shed new light on the structure of the earliest Plymouth settlement and the connections between the Wampanoag and English colonists.

Short bibliography:
2017 A. Crowder, D. Landon, C. Beranek. Preliminary Results of the 2017 Archaeological Survey at the Mayflower Society Houselot. The Mayflower Journal 2(2): 52-57.
2016 D. Landon and C. Beranek. Revisiting the Archaeology of the Pilgrims: The Plymouth Colony Archaeological Survey. The Mayflower Journal 1(1): 13-40.

For further reading:
An article on the discovery of the original Plimoth site from Nov 2016:
An article from Fall 2017 about Finding the Pilgrims:

Finding The Pilgrims

Plymouth400 website:

Dr. Landon is the Associate Director of the Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. With a Bachelors from Wesleyan University, his Ph.D. was from Boston University in Archaeology. During the past 30 years, he has authored and co-authored dozens of publications on archaeological sites throughout the eastern and central United States.

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November 11, 2019
6:00 am - 6:00 pm EST
Event Category:


Lance Lazar


Assumption College, Curtis Performance Hall (TFAC 120)
500 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
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