Thursday, May 31, 2007

The actual rock plus a piece of trash

I was wondering how to show the rock to scale because all the photos I've seen it looks like the rock is small enough that I might be able to pick it up, or a least some really strong person could. It was much bigger than what I expected.

And there happens to be a piece of trash inside the bars of the monument today, a juice box. A sad commentary, isn't it. Why the ranger on duty doesn't see to it that it gets picked up immediately, I don't know. So there's my object to indicate scale. Two big grown-ups could stand on the rock at the same time, or maybe four children. It's granite.

And to my surprise, the pilgrims probably never really set foot on the actual rock! Here's the story at PBS:
QUESTION 8) After traveling over 2,700 miles from England to the New World, the "Pilgrims" first came ashore on Plymouth Rock and established their permanent colony.

ANSWER: FALSE. After completing their journey of over 2,700 miles on the Mayflower (traveling at a speed of two miles per hour), the Pilgrims first anchored in the harbor of present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts, on November 11, 1620. Over a month later, the Pilgrims selected the location for their new colony, which they named Plymouth, at the site of an abandoned Indian village. However, at the time, none of the Pilgrims mentioned stepping onto the land at a rock or boulder. The first mention of Plymouth Rock as the "landing place" of the Pilgrims didn't happen until over one hundred years later. In 1741, an elderly resident of Plymouth named Thomas Faunce identified a large boulder on the beach as the spot where the Pilgrims first made landfall. Faunce's father, who arrived in Plymouth three years after the original Pilgrims, was told about the Rock by one of the original colonists. Since none of the original Pilgrims wrote about the Rock when describing their arrival, and since Thomas Faunce's story was a third-hand account 121 years later, there is no way to know for certain if the Plymouth Rock story is true. However, the Rock is an important symbol of the courage and determination of early colonists; it currently stands in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, and thousands of tourists visit it each year.