The times of their lives: life, love, and death in Plymouth Colony

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The Deetzes point out early on that from the very beginning the Pilgrim enterprise involved more enterprise than the search for religious freedom, though they do not discount the importance of religion for many. The original Puritans went into voluntary exile in the Netherlands when they formed the idea of creating a community in the New World.


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But there weren't enough of them to attract the support of English investors. So among the Mayflower passengers, in addition to the Separatists, who had no use for the established English church, were others who were mainly interested in economic opportunity. Deetz, who died a few weeks ago, was a professor of archaeology at the University of Virginia and had been assistant director of the Plimouth Plantation; Mrs. Deetz is a cultural historian and anthropologist.

Plymouth Colony

The final chapters of their book are largely histories of American Colonial archaeology, with an account of the project to make Plimouth Plantation historically accurate tacked on at the end. The lay reader will find material of interest here -- that, for example, the Pilgrims ate with spoons, not forks which were considered a foppish affection until the 18th century. The Deetzes also make an important observation about the absence of log cabins in Plymouth: ''This is yet another small part of the Pilgrim Myth, and as is the case of the other parts of this story, it reflected widely held ideas about the American past,'' they write, ''in which log cabins symbolized the spirit of the pioneers, and how humble beginnings can sometimes lead to greater things.

Despite such valuable insights, these portions of the book smack of shop talk.

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They are simply not very interesting, especially in comparison with more earthy matters like the kinds of crimes committed in Plymouth and by whom. Examining court records, for example, the Deetzes uncovered the case of Mary Mendame, who in was put on trial for adultery; her partner in the offense, for which she was publicly whipped, was an Indian named Tinsin.

Americans have been schooled to believe that their forefathers, the Pilgrims, were somber, dark-clad, pure-of-heart figures who conceived their country on the foundation of piety, hard work, and the desire to live simply and honestly. But the truth is far from the portrait painted by decades of historians.

THE TIMES OF THEIR LIVES Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony

They wore brightly colored clothing, often drank heavily, believed in witches, had premarital sex and adulterous affairs, and committed petty and serious crimes against their neighbors in surprisingly high numbers. Beginning by debunking the numerous myths that surround the landing of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving, James Deetz and Patricia Scott Deetz lead us through court transcripts, wills, probate listings, and rare firsthand accounts, as well as archaeological finds, to reveal the true story of life in colonial America. James Deetz, Ph. One of the founders of modern historical archaeology in America, Deetz's work has profoundly affected the fields of anthropology, history, and folklore.

For decades he led research on Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, revolutionizing our understanding of the way people lived in colonial America. He died in Patricia Scott Deetz is a cultural historian with an M. She worked with her husband as a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia.


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The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony – Plimoth Plantation Museum Shop

The site promises that more of these will be published, and they demonstrate the fruits of interaction between fine teachers and committed undergraduates. The project here shows education in action in a way that the public rarely sees. In a time of outcomes assessment and reservations about arts-and-sciences education, it is well to be reminded that students can hone their analytical skills in courses covering traditional material. The structure and form of the site are imperfect.

Plymouth Colony, 1960s - Film 99257

The abundance of primary sources means that some pages are simply tables of contents to documents—perhaps an inevitable problem.