The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in the Plymouth Colony

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Henry Holt and Company, Sep 15, 2000 - History - 366 pages
8 Reviews
Who were the Pilgrims? Far from the somberly clad, stern, and righteous figures children learn about in school, many of the early settlers of Plymouth actually dressed in bright colors, drank heavily, and often got into trouble.

A surprising new look at America's founding fathers and mothers, The Times of Their Lives presents a realistic, factual account of the Plymouth colony based on contemporary archaeology, cultural research, and living history. Taking little known trial transcripts, personal accounts, wills and probate records, as well as physical artifacts such as shards and spoons unearthed from old foundations, James and Patricia Deetz reveal what life in seventeenth century Plymouth was really like. In the process they blow the dust off the dull, wooden figures of tradition and show the people of Plymouth as vibrant individuals who lived out complex and colorful lives in a world profoundly different than our own.

Beginning with an eyewitness account of the first Thanksgiving, The Times of Their Lives offers an often startling portrait of Plymouth Colony that includes aspects of the legal system, folk beliefs, family life, women’s roles and gender issues, eating habits, alcohol use, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, suspicious deaths, and violent crimes.

The result is an impeccably researched and highly imaginative work that shakes up our view of one of the most cherished myths of American history.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - particle_p - LibraryThing

James Deetz was one of the founders of the field of historical archaeology and was one of the people who helped set up Plymouth Plantation. This book describes the history of Plymouth Colony from the ... Read full review

Review: The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony

User Review  - dejah_thoris - Goodreads

Thorough and well-researched but a bit dry at times. I really enjoyed the chapters on social history and crime within the colony but found those on archeology and the founding of Plimouth Plantation ... Read full review

About the author (2000)

James Deetz, Ph.D., is the Harrison Professor of Historical Archaeology at the University of Virginia. Perhaps the foremost expert on the archaeology of Plymouth Colony, he is considered one of the "founding fathers" of Historical Archaeology. For eleven years Deetz worked as the Assistant Director of the museum at Plymouth Plantation, where he introduced an innovative interpretive program. He is the author of In Small Things Forgotten and Flowerdew Hundred.

Patricia Scott Deetz is a cultural historian with an M. A. in history from Rhodes University, South Africa. She has worked with her husband as a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Virginia for the past seven years.

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