Millennium Post

Site of first Thanksgiving dinner discovered

Scientists have discovered the original Plymouth settlement dating back to 1620, where the Pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving almost four hundred years ago. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, spent five weeks looking for the site of the original Pilgrim settlement.

Since the original structures were not built with bricks, the research team could not look for foundations. Rather, they had to look for “post and ground construction” basically holes for wood, and dirt.

The researchers, led by David Landon, associate director of the university’s Andrew Fiske Memorial Centre for Archaeological Research, also found 17th century artifacts – including pottery, tins, trade beads and musket balls.

They also found a calf buried whole in the bottom-most pit. Since native people did not have domestic cattle, it must have lived in the confines of the original Plymouth settlement.

According to Kathryn Ness, curator of collections at Plimoth Plantation, this discovery is huge.

“Finding evidence of colonial activity inside the original 1620 Plymouth settlement is an incredibly exciting discovery that has the potential to change dramatically our understanding of early European colonization in New England,” said Ness.

“For the first time, we have proof of where the settlement was located and what kinds of items the Pilgrims owned and used,” she said. 

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