Located at the heart of downtown Plymouth, Burial Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ fort, the Hill has been used as a burying ground since the 17th century. Over 2,000 headstones and monuments dating from 1681 to 1957 survive, providing records of the lives of Plymoutheans across three centuries.
In partnership with Pilgrim Hall Museum, the Antiquarian Society will be presenting a short series of in-person tours of Burial Hill in 2022. The tours will be recorded and an enhanced and audio-corrected digital version of each tour will premiere online the month following each live event.
Release Dates of Tour Recordings
May 7th: Travel Tales: Plymoutheans on the Move, with Dr. Anne Mason, Executive Director, Plymouth Antiquarian Society Click here for the recording
July 2nd: Burying the Dead in the Early Republic, with Stephen O’Neill, Executive Director, Hanover Historical Society Click here for the recording
September 3rd: Mr. Davis’s Neighborhood, with Dr. Donna Curtin, Executive Director, Pilgrim Hall Museum Click here for the recording
November: Pits, Posts, & Palisades: Archaeological Findings on Burial Hill, with Dr. David Landon, Associate Director of the Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research at UMass Boston
The tour originally scheduled for October 1st has been rescheduled to October 22nd due to rain. The recording of this tour will consequently be delayed; release date to be announced.
Below you will find links to the virtual resources created during the COVID-19 pandemic as alternatives to the in-person tours of this historic graveyard usually offered on the first Saturday of the month.
Tales of the Sea
Executive Director Anne Mason shares stories of Plymoutheans’ experiences at sea during a tour of Burial Hill on April 4, 2020, featuring an in-depth look at the Holmes family plot. Learn more…
“Remember me as you pass by”: Gravestone Epitaphs & Iconography
In this five-part video series Executive Director Anne Mason provides an introduction to popular 18th- and 19th-century gravestone motifs visible on Burial Hill. Carved symbols and inscriptions reveal religious beliefs, cultural attitudes, and perspectives on death. She continues exploring this theme during a tour of Plymouth’s Oak Grove Cemetery on May 2, 2020. This cemetery, located off of Summer Street, was created as a “rural cemetery” in the 1840s. Learn more…
Sing through History
Sing the songs of Plymouth’s past with Executive Director Anne Mason in this webinar, recorded on June 4, 2020. Discover local history through music and see hidden treasures from the Antiquarian Society’s archival collection. Learn more…
Spirit of Liberty: Plymouth & the Revolution
Donna Curtin, Executive Director of Pilgrim Hall Museum, explores local decisions made on the pathway to independence. Recorded on Burial Hill on July 4, 2020. Learn more…
Pilgrim Graves on Burial Hill
Stephen O’Neill, Executive Director of the Hanover Historical Society and Senior Lecturer at Suffolk University, visits some of the final resting places of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Recorded on Burial Hill on September 5, 2020. Learn more…
Finding Early Plymouth: An Archaeological View of Burial Hill
Learn about exciting insights into Plymouth’s 17th-century beginnings with Dr. David Landon, Associate Director of the Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research. Dr. Landon and his team from UMass Boston, in conjunction with Plimoth Patuxet and the Town, have expanded our knowledge of the colonial settlement through a multiyear archaeological study of downtown Plymouth. Recorded on October 3, 2020. Learn more…
Women of the Centuries
Dr. Donna Curtin, Executive Director of Pilgrim Hall Museum, honors a century of women’s suffrage in America during this virtual tour. Meet women from 400 years of Plymouth history who shaped their world through their ideas and actions, from the unnamed indigenous women of Patuxet to immigrant women of diverse heritage, including women of the Mayflower. Livestreamed from Burial Hill on November 7, 2020. Learn more…
Home for the Holidays: Festive Occasions and Family Gatherings
How did Plymoutheans celebrate Election Day, Forefathers Day, and other holidays in the 18th and 19th centuries? Explore local traditions on a guided tour by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society’s Executive Director, Dr. Anne Mason. Livestreamed on December 5, 2020. Learn more…
Learn more about Burial Hill’s gravestones and Plymouth history using these free online resources:
- Bradford Kingman, Epitaphs from Burial Hill (1892): Digital copy available at Internet Archive
- Benjamin Drew, Burial Hill: Its Monuments and Gravestones (1894): Digital copy available at Internet Archive
- Barbara J. Bradford Robinson, Howard E. Robinson & Cynthia L. Robinson, Burial Hill in the 1990s (Plymouth Public Library Corporation, 2000): Digital copy available at Internet Archive
- Friends of Burial Hill Gravestone Surveys: Online database
- Town of Plymouth Cemetery Burial Record Search: Online database
- William T. Davis, Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian (1906): Digital copy available at Internet Archive
- James Thacher, History of the Town of Plymouth (1832): Digital copy available at Internet Archive