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Just Across the Brook: Wampanoag Women and English Gardens at Plimoth in 1621

Learn about the vital role Wampanoag women played in shaping the first gardens at Plimoth. These women were instrumental in teaching the English to manure the fields with fish, to hill the corn and plant beans, squashes and pumpkins along with the corn.

Dr. Dunford will discuss the vital role that Wampanoag women played in shaping the first gardens at Plimoth. Specifically, the Wampanoag women living in the summer village on the south side of Town Brook in 1621, who were instrumental in teaching the English to manure the fields with fish, to hill the corn, and plant beans, squashes and pumpkins along with the corn. In addition, the English constructed their houses and gardens in the fields that lined the northside of the brook. Those fields were created by thousands of years of clearing and burning which fostered the growth of strawberries, blueberries, sunflowers, milkweed, butterfly weed, jewelweed, Jerusalem artichokes, Chenopodium, and a host of other edible and medicinal plants used by Wampanoag women, who in turn, shared knowledge of these plants with their new neighbors.

Dr. Fred Dunford was the Museum Archaeologist at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History from 1982 through 2003. He has a BA in Anthropology from Harvard and MA/PhD from the University of Massachusetts. He is currently the Horticulture Specialist in the English Village at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums.