One of the lesser known sites of historical interest in Plymouth is called Sacrifice Rock. The rock is maintained by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. It is believed to be the site where the Wampanoag tribes left gifts of sticks and small rocks in hopes that the spirits would grant them safe passage to their destination.
The Plymouth Antiquarian Society’s
oldest historic site is a large rock located off Old Sandwich Road. It existed
centuries before the Pilgrims first landed on Plymouth’s shores in 1620. The rock held a very significant role in
Wampanoag spiritual culture. It may be
named for the traditional sacrifices that occurred on the site, specifically where
the Wampanoags left small tokens, such as sticks and stones, with hopes that
the gesture would grant them a safe journey between Plymouth and nearby
areas. Today, visitors to the rock
follow the same tradition. Small
offerings of pine boughs, pine cones, and small pebbles are constantly left by travelers.
The site where the rock is
situated was gifted to the Plymouth Antiquarian Society in 1928. There are no fortifications built around the
rock to protect it. It is left on the
side of a partially paved road for visitors to find. There is a small plaque marking its significance,
which simply reads: “Sacrifice Rock / Manittoo Asseinah / Indian Name Meaning /
A new subdivision is being
developed around the rock. There are plans, however, to keep the rock safe and improve its
habitat along the street. The
developer’s plan includes a buffer zone around the rock with a walking trail
and a small park.