There is an interesting set of object relations in how we shape our national identities to geological formations. In the case of the current form of the U.S.A., we claim the Plymouth Rock in Plymouth Massachusetts as a type of creationist folklore as white settlers were alleged to have landed on the rock in 1620. Yet, the first documented claim of this story occurs in 1741 meanwhile the rock has been moved, cracked, and portions have been removed and are in other locations; a chunk is in a church in Brooklyn New York for example. In 1880 the majority of the rock was moved back to the shoreline in Plymouth and staged along a wharf with an architectural structure and, during this restaging of history, the date ‘1620’ was inscribed on its surface.
Mayflower and Native American Markers
Meanwhile the ‘Mayflower’ ship, a replica, is visible just north as it’s docked in downtown Plymouth Harbor. Its complicated histories are latent and marked only by a ‘Squanto’ statue that stands on a hillside as a prominent noble savage. There is no set of objects or markers with inscriptions authored by the Wampanoag Tribe down by the Harbor but I did find a rock with a plaque placed by the ‘United American Indians of New England, in honor of Metacomet (King Philip). It states that upon his execution his head was impaled on a pike and displayed in the public space of Plymouth for 20 years. One hand was sent to Boston and the other to England and his surviving family and many of the Native American combatants were sold into slavery in the West Indies by the English victors.
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
Just south of the Plymouth Rock the shore turns and creates an inward horseshoe shape that is not visible from the shore. Within this shape sites the aptly named Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. Set for decommissioning in 2020, it holds the worst possible safety rating by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There are no clear plans for how the spent casings and radioactive waste will be safely handled, stored, and possibly permanently interred in Plymouth.