#ThrowBackThursday: Sacrifice Rock
Although it’s the most well-known, Plymouth Rock isn’t the only historically notable boulder in America’s Hometown. Located on Old Sandwich Rd near the Pinehills in Plymouth, Sacrifice Rock is one of the lesser-known historic sites in America’s Hometown.
According to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society, Sacrifice Rock was an important landmark to Wampanoag travelers for centuries. When traveling into or out of Patuxet (the area we now call Plymouth), the Wampanoag would place sticks and branches on the rock. This gesture that we call a “sacrifice” could have been made in an effort to receive the blessing of a safe journey.
Over time, the generations of travelers’ sacrifices created a large formation of sticks and branches, which William T. Davis mentions in his book published in 1899, Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth;
“Sacrifice Rocks. – Of these there are to, and both on the easterly side of the Sandwich Road, one between Forge Pond and the Cornish tavern and the other beyond what is known as the Chamberlain place. These rocks, still covered with small branches, remain as monuments of aboriginal religious rites. Like the Manittoo Asseinah, or Spirit Rocks of the western Indians, they have always received the homage of branches from the natives, who passed them reverently as the abodes of the Great Spirit, and went on in silence.” [original document]
According to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society, Sacrifice Rock was gifted to the Antiquarian Society by Abbott A. Raymond in 1928. A commemorative stone marker was added about 1960 to mark the significance of the site, and was replaced by a metal plaque in 1991.
There are believed to be other rocks that served the same purpose in the Plymouth area, according to Timothy Turner of Native Plymouth Tours. Have you spotted one?