Talk to the Rock

Like the Mayflower Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock is an immigrant

Plymouth Rock is known the world over as the rock the Mayflower Pilgrims stepped on in 1620 to disembark from their shallop onto land. Historians have argued since it was reported, in 1741, whether this is fact or fiction. Plymouth Historian Jim Baker says it could be true. Between the weather and the ice cold water, it may have saved the Pilgrims from wading to shore. Regardless of whether it is a true story or not, Plymouth Rock has become a foundational American symbol of religious freedom and civil liberty. It is also a symbol of immigration, the American spirit, and survival.

Oh, but there’s more!

Story of Plymouth Rock

In the November 24, 2016 edition of Scientific American, Dana Hunter wrote an article titled The Real Story of Plymouth Rock.

Plymouth Rock is made of Dedham Granite, a granodiorite that began life around 630 million years ago as part of Gondwana. It traveled with Gondwana to become part of the supercontinent of Pangea, rather like the Pilgrims first living in Leiden, Netherlands before coming to America. Plymouth rock found itself on the American side of the great rift when Pangea split apart, and the Atlantic Ocean was born. You cannot say it crossed an ocean, exactly, as the ocean didn’t exist, but it certainly got to watch the Atlantic form. Like the Pilgrims, it initially spent its time in another part of the continent before landing at Plymouth. 

Plymouth Rock is a glacial erratic. Twenty thousand years ago, it was plucked up by the great glaciers that covered huge bits of North America, rafted considerable distances, and then deposited on a coast where human history would be made a long time later. You can see pieces of this rock in many places in New England. The portion of the glacial erratic left behind at Plymouth became the famous rock it is today.

  • 200 million years ago – Glacial erratic rock lands on shore after traveling for 400 million years.
  • 12,000 years ago – Pokanoket Tribe of Wampanoag Nation settles, calling the area Patuxet. The tribe abandons the settlement in 1616 AD after a plague kills many.
  • 1620 AD – Mayflower Pilgrims arrive to find abandoned land, now renamed Plymouth on a map they were carrying, published by explorer John Smith.

Top Ten Reasons to Talk to the Rock

  • 1 It may not be impressive looking, but it has over 600 million years of wisdom.
  • 2 Those who talk to the rock report an answer forming in their minds.
  • 3 Talking to the rock will calm you.
  • 4 Talking to the rock will bring you peace.
  • 5 What else is there to do while staring down at it?
  • 6 Follow the leader…people have talked to the rock since the mid-1700s.
  • 7 No one can hack your brain. Leave your confidential discussion with the rock instead of the internet.
  • 8 You can trust the rock to never repeat your thoughts.
  • 9 Your secrets will be there forever…at least another 600 million years.
  • 10 To win! Create a Talk to the Rock social media video and post to See Plymouth.

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CONGRATULATIONS to our 2022 Talk to the Rock Contest winner, Vivi of New Orleans, LA with “Vivi Sparkles in Plymouth” and also to our first runner-up, Beth and Marcia (aka Two Grannies on the Road) of Plymouth, MA with their video, “Two Grannies Talk to the Rock”, and our second runner-up, Alex of Austin, TX, with “Plymouth Rock Word Game”. You can view these videos above.

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