Pilgrim Academic Research Award 2016

Archaeologists Dr. David Landon and Dr. Christa Beranek receive 2016 General Society of Mayflower Descendants Pilgrim Academic Research Award.

Researchers from UMass Boston’s Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research have discovered evidence of the original 1620 Plymouth settlement

13503117 1168153713248860 3005951407131843233 oThe second annual Pilgrim Academic Research Award given by GSMD has been awarded to Dr. David Landon and Dr. Christa Beranek for their discovery of artifacts and post and ground construction of the original 1620 settlement of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

“The artifacts found will offer new information and study about the items used by our Pilgrim ancestors,” said Lea Sinclair Filson, Governor General of GSMD. “Our society’s goal is to encourage study about the Mayflower Pilgrims and locating items inside the settlement walls brings new and valuable knowledge about their existence.”

This is the fourth summer that undergraduate and graduate students from UMass Boston have conducted a field school in Plymouth. The goal was to find, by 2020, the original settlement in time for the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Plymouth Colony. Instead, in 2016, a calf buried whole was found and because native people didn’t have domestic cattle, it proved the study group was digging within the original Plymouth settlement.

Other artifacts including 17th century pottery, tins, trade beads, and musket balls have been found around the post and ground construction. Landon and Beranek are cautiously optimistic that, with further research, they may be able to map out the colony and location of the original meetinghouse.

The study is being done in partnership with Plimoth Plantation and is currently being funded by a three-year, $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.

The $1000 cash award was presented to Dr. Landon and Dr. Beranek at a dinner held at the Mayflower Society House in Plymouth in late October.

Click here to read more about their discoveries through UMass Boston's blog.
Click here to look through our photo album from when GSMD visited their archealogical site on Burial Hill in August 2016.

For further reading, you can check out Dr. Landon and Dr. Beranek's piece in the first issue of the Mayflower Journal (Vol. 1, Issue 1, Spring 2016), "Revisiting the Archeaology of the Pilgrims: The Plymouth Colony Archeaological Survey" by David B. Landon and Christa M. Beranek. The issue is available for free for GSMD Members by logging in to the Members Only section, clicking on Publications -> Mayflower Journal, and scrolling to the bottom for past issues. You can purchase the hard copy by emailing Publications Manager Debbie Sirois at Sales@Themayflowersociety.org.

(Picture: UMass Boston student, Samantha, shows Governor General Lea Filson, Secretary General Susan Roser and Executive Director Dr. Walter Powell beads and small instruments they have found while excavating a portion of Burial Hill during Summer 2016)

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