tv Virtual Mayflower Project CSPAN November 25, 2021 8:00am-8:35am EST
[inaudible] thank you to you as well to the commonwealth out there. ♪♪ >> thank you. >> thank you, tom. >> starting now on this thanksgiving day, explore our nation's past with american history. throughout the day watch coverage of a recent conference hosted by the national museum of the civil war soldier in virginia. ..
>> in 1620, the mayflower mayflower traveled from plymouth england to america and the pilgrims settled the plymouth colony on the coast of massachusetts. we talked to robert stone about the virtual mayflower project which uses virtual reality to re-create the ship and the harbor from which it set sail. using avatars and three to 60° images of the virtual world, professor stone describes what life might of been like for the pilgrims and crew. some of the historic features we will see in a virtual rendering of the 17th century court called the plymouth castle and the speedwell, ship that was set to sail with the mayflower to america but was deemed unseaworthy and returned to port. >> 1620 has been a big labor of love for me over the last six years. it's about trying to use reality
to bring a part of england plymouth and the rest of the country back to life the people who lived there and people who experienced what it was like for the pilgrims in their mammoth journey across atlantic back in 1620 come what it was like for them, what was last thing they saw it before they got on this wiki, creaky ship and made the way out up into the treaches atlantic although centuries ago? >> we are going to jump right in and take a look at some of those 300 '60s. we are here at the moment is the uk. it's also known as smart key. you just that make out the mast of the mast of the speedwell. what we decide we would leave the speedwell, --
[inaudible] there was a little ship repairs going on. what you're seeing now with these fine people having a chat, this is reminiscent of an old fish market right up to the 1960s. for example, a lot of the fish would be brought here. that would be done here. ships would be more and delivery of the fish into the fish crew, what box it up, put on wagons were taken directly to some of the stores that would've been available outside the buildings that are, in fact, behind this, where we're looking at this image. but again you can see we try to make it look -- you can see the speedwell much more clear.
you can see it's quite dirty. not very hygienic. today most of this would be covered by paving slabs of concrete, but in 1620 there was very little of that. a lot of wooden docking areas would have been there. on the left would be the location of the bakery. the bakery still exists. it's the oldest bakery in the uk. that's another claim to fame to this area and the bakery would've provided some of the snacks, biscuits and the food the pilgrims would've taken on board the mayflower for their final journey. it still sells a variety of breads and biscuits and pastries
and buys even today. it's a very popular bakery. many pups will come onto one of the streets over that later on, historically renowned for its pubs and a lot of accommodations. a lot of the people who lived in this very would've been fishermen and their wives would help them to prepare the fish, sell the fish. along the fronts of these places would've been covered with barrels and shells, setting all kinds of things -- selling all kinds of things from wine to fish. we are now getting closer to the gate. you can see the mayflower. the mayflower is in the
distance. the mayflower is more in the catwalk area. we'll see the current location of the harbor commissioners office. on the left you can see on the left of that of the iman move, if you can look to the left loaded you can see the fish house. you can see the remains of the chain coming from the fish house. there are some who said that chain wasn't around in the 1620s but we thought we put in there because it was such an historical, historically important feature. if you look to the right this is a part of the -- to the side, to
the right of the steps is the harbor masters office. to the right of these steps is today's tourist office. to the right of that is a house with a pilgrims, many pilgrims would've had the last couple of nights in england. the steps, they would have originally gone to the castle. this is not as damnation alley. that single route up there had something like ten pounds and each pub was a brothel. so not a a very nice place but obviously you got sailors coming in, , you've got fishermen comig in and obviously if they wanted all manner of life relief, that's where they would head. that's certainly where they would go. you see the representation of the house just to the right.
just behind these houses there's a famous elizabethan house. each four sticks out a little more than one beneath. that's called a jetty house. if you want to turn around and go into, if you want to see the back of these stores, politically incorrect but anti-historical fact as far as were aware. they would've brought all kinds of conflicts down here. some of the offenders would've been put into stocks. some of them would've been put in here.
if you turn to your right and look up you will be able to see the location of plymouth castle. plymouth castle may have been more in a state of ruin than what we show here. you can see what you're looking now, the tower, the tower in the distance, that is now a gatehouse and that is the only piece of the castle that exists today. you walk up the hill and you can actually get in and see the remains of that gatehouse. so again i'm sure it would be much prettier than this. when you're walking around this, these guys are moving around and some of them are having an argument. and then we can go to the park of the actual entry, the covered bridge way down to the steps themselves.
again, a lot of controversy over where the real mayflower steps exist. they are still in existence underneath the ladies restroom in one pub. i'm not too sure that's accurate but we have got them where they are typically placed in most of the maps that we've actually seen. at the base of the steps we have little shalit. not on similar with the mayflower took over to cape cod, and you were able to assemble it because it was taken over in the cargo bay in four pieces so they had to assemble it and then they took it on to land and ultimately to get to land on plymouth at the famed plymouth rock. and then in the actual virtue readily demonstration you can see the fish house there. you can see the chain. so again even though it may not
amend the in the 16 '20s it was definitely the most important part of the fortification. so observers from plymouth castle could look at and if they thought there was a threat the chain would come up and that would protect them from the french or the spanish. you can then, you are automatically taken out in this rather leaky little boat and then you're able to look around, you can see the view of the last view of plymouth, the mayflower pilgrims would've seen. the system would take you up on to the ship itself and with various pilgrims and crew. the guy sat directly footage you with a hat on, as we'll see later on, it's not very well at all. he's not at all well and that's bad news for the ship has left harbor yet so he is not going to fare very well going over to the americas in the coming weeks,
the coming 66 days. these guys and gals were at sea. again we can look back into plymouth. we have left the castle and some state of ruin but that's probably the last view they would see before sailing out across plymouth sound, past the sound as it is today. there may have been a deacon up there, a windmill, we don't know. and then passed famous drakes island out into the atlantic and onto the americas. the guy you are just sitting here would be rather swell hairstyle, is our representation of edward winslow we decided to put the time we had just one avatar that was representative
of a known character and obviously because of my present-day relationship, if we ever have the opportunity to go forward we will be able to go into places like the captains cabin and christopher jones, the captain, get them to explain their stories. william brewster, the lady who gave birth during the actual transit. and also john howland, he was actually a servant of the governor evers on board the ship and he had a very interesting story and that he fell overboard crossing the atlantic but managed righteously to grab a rope and pull himself back on board. if he had not done that then
george w. bush and george bush would've never existed because their descendent of john howland. the relatives and their descendents, they've got some -- if we could make these avatars tell their story, how fantastic that would be. so there we have it. going to the stern of the ship, that particular structure their which is designed to really pull in ropes and be able to sort of secure the ship and secure various pieces of cargo coming onto the ship. this is the main deck and this is where you've got the steerage office. that's called a captain. if you go further towards what would be the tiny cramped cabins on the left you can just see the
stick on the left. that was a very small stick that controlled the rotor. rudder. deck control the steerage of the ship and then you have the captains cabin, obviously the best gavin on the ship. he had a little bed. this is what we believe the mayflower compact in which bradford had a large hand in. this is where you see the pictures of them all signing the compact before the set sail. above the cabin on the poop deck is another tiny cabin. it's a little cabin that contained weapons, contained maps. and one thing we hope to do in the future is, you can actually go downstairs, go below, it's
very empty at the moment. it was nowhere near as spacious as of this year the gap between the ceiling and the floor is about five feet. you can see the captain coming through. this would've brought the anchors in. we have to put in many more beds, any more pieces of cargo, spinning wheels, cribs, furniture, animals. this is the area where most of the 102 passengers would have stayed, and it's tiny. it's absolutely tiny. it looks quite spacious year but again sadly we didn't have enough time to finish it off. but he can look at the capstan, the capstan is something specifically i photographed at plymouth vacation to get the accuracy from that visit. and you can see it's just behind the latter.
there may have been a ladder, and may have been a rope ladder, we don't know. you can see the mechanism of the pillar coming down from the deck above, and then the complex wouldn't being that goes to the stern and that controls the rudder. so again a lot of things going on, lots of armaments, lots of weapons. i can't even get my head around what it would've been like to been cramped on that 66 days. rarely would they go on deck. it was incredibly stormy and extraordinarily dangerous point towards the front, towards the bow, there's another area you can go to and that cabin there was where most of the sailors, most of the sales would have slept. they would have slept in the stern as well although that was
reserved for officers and that's where most of the cooking would've been done. there's a brick work killed type of oven in there. hanging meat. again, not particularly hygienic. some of the water and beer. beer was much healthier to drink than water because the water was so badly infected. that would be brought up from the cargo hold right in the depths of the ship and brought into that particular cabin for preparation. if you look up towards the top of the deck you can see what looks like a small cannon. this is called a swivel gun and i wasn't aware they had these weapons until again plymouth plantation. we had two original weapons in
the re-creation of the houses, and these were small, tiny, miniature cannon balls and the idea was they would be used to repel attackers if they were attacked at sea. much more of that in education and historical tool, and we live in hope. >> before we exit the 360 can you talk a little bit about what the crossing would've been like? you make and they would've below deck most of the time. what of the details if you did gain this out would you want to include? >> one of the original ambitions of the virtual mayflower project was to almost re-create part of the ceiling virtually but do it hand in hand with navy schools in massachusetts based in the
plymouth area. because it would be great if we could then use the mayflower in plymouth to show schools and yes what it was like in early part of the journey and then we could work with schools and institutions in massachusetts so that they could show us what it was like when the mayflower actually arrived. the crossing itself would've been horrendous. we know there was one baby born. we know people died. we know the john howland story going overboard. we know one of the main beams split 31 of the most difficult storms and fortunately because they had a jackscrew they were able to put the being back and keep it intact. if that had gone the whole ship would have been compromised. so there were all kinds of events, and just the hardships of being stuck in that tiny area. the seasickness would've been horrendous. the hygiene would've been horrendous. and again it's very glamorously
portrayed when you see the pilgrims kneeling and praying next to plymouth rock. but they must've been so glad to get off the ship. really, they must have been glad. >> the mayflower project isn't actually your first orate into re-creating historic ships. how did you get started into that? >> the first project, about six years ago, was undertaken again as a labor of love for the shipwreck museum in hastings which is on the south coast of england. we put together a project to build a 3-d version, and the fact that we were able to fly a drone and see the ship from the air on its final resting place come so we fly to the drone and you can see the 3-d ship was actually a world first. as result of this we went to
quite a few meetings including beatings of the mayflower 400 40 trail towns, the towns across england that were involved in being home if you like to mean of the pilgrims before they made their way to london to set up for plymouth to board the ship. we were invited to consider whether or not we could do something similar for the mayflower with the 400th anniversary which was very close to the horizon. >> what did some of those early models look like? >> they were quite basic. fortunately, and this is the great thing about virtual reality, there are a lot of really good assets that you can buy or download free of charge online. we were able to find two great basic models, one of the mayflower and one of the ship that accompanied the mayflower, the speedwell. she was left in plymouth because she was leaking like a sieve. we were able to put these two
ships into virtual reality scenes using the same harbor model we use before and then we could put that into the virtual reality headset and allow members of the public and school children and people who were involved in the trails town committee to experience what it might be like if we were given the rain and take the project to its ultimate conclusion. >> and were you given free reign? >> we were given for everything. we got absolutely zero funding for this project. all the early presentations and demonstrations came to nothing. the money had been spent quite extensively elsewhere, but being england born and bred and living in the home -- sailed on the mayflower, it became a labor of love. we are going to do this, somehow we're going to do this. sure enough we were able to do
this so we had free reign because we're not that anyone's beck and call. we were at most liberty of the 16th september of this year which is bang on time to take part in the celebrations. >> what with some of your research like? >> very tricky, very difficult. there are so few documents that you can turn to. there are maps of the area that we were focusing on, the harbor that really was the beginning of plymouth town and ultimately plymouth city. but the maps were not specific to 1620. they were either in the 16th century, so the century before, or the century after. it wasn't clear what buildings had fallen to ruin, what level the street was. so it was a very long series of many research studies, consulted with historical experts, one of
our team members was providing us with information that was incredibly valuable. but unlike our other projects we never extreme trouble. very rarely but these houses project very much rely on a certain amount of interpretation, but when you've got scant resources to go by, then yes, you are never going to get it 100% right and it will always be controversy and criticism, but we did the best we could with the resources we had. >> and talk a little bit about your trip to plymouth, massachusetts. >> after we decided we're going to do the mayflower project, it seemed sensible to me to try and find as much information we could not just about the main mayflower but the mayflower ii.
the mayflower ii was built just around the corner from plymouth england back in 1957 and given to the united states as a gift and the sailed across the atlantic in 1957 to commemorate the landing of the pilgrims. the mayflower ii has recently come at the the seaport on the eastern coast after a major multimillion dollar retakes and it has gone back. i was lucky enough to find a few pennies, pocket to go over to boston and travel down massachusetts, travel down to plymouth and i got to see fantastic reception from the crew of mayflower ii and the guys and gals who run plymouth mentation. without that visit we would not be able to put together the detail that we have. suspect time on the mayflower ii
with a series of 360° panoramic cameras try to get as much information about the decks as i could. we have one camera up in the crows nest to give a real nice view of the ship from up above. i was taken to the plymouth mentation where they have these fantastic wardrobes, assets and antiquities as well as plans rating to the original mayflower ii build and design. i was able to, i came back with more photographs than you can imagine and we've been using these photographs. they even gave us access to a fabulous laser scan of the entire ship that was taken when she was in the seaport. and to be able to resolve the details of the timbers and the ratings, it was, without the kind, generous donations and knowledge and images from
plymouth plantation we would've had a lot of problems. >> how do you translate some of those details and information you found in plymouth, massachusetts, to virtual world? >> the photographs, we're able to take photographs of some of the actors and actresses have on board performing the duties of the crew or the behavior of the pilgrims. we use those to take our virtual humans, our avatars, and with a relatively accurate dressed in clothing and get them doing things on board the ship or walking around the harbor. that was one thing we could do so we could directly map from the photographs of the people in plymouth, massachusetts, on to the virtual humans. we were able to take, for example, pictures of the wooden beams. so again we can use the pictures to map onto our 3-d models to make a look more realistic.
we were able to use some of the 3-d information and convert different forms of the 3-d 3-d information, so, for example, the laser scan, we would convert that into 3-d and put into more detail. so every piece of information that is used, nothing gets wasted. >> how were you able to come across the same type of details for the town? that's a big part of the project as well. >> that town in the area in plymouth, again very, very difficult. we used a combination of resources. obviously the maps gave us some degree of confidence that we have the potential layout of that part of the town back in the 16 '20s. the buildings were predominately medieval. that's quite fortunate because there are some very good asset
sites online where you can buy medieval buildings. they are fairly basic so we could use the 3-d structure and did take some of those photographs of older buildings, and some of the buildings that exist, again map those against the brick work, to give them some degree of authenticity. but again a lot of interpretation and a lot of advice from historians to make sure that we do not go over the top with something that looks completely out of place, completely out of time. >> what was plymouth like in 1620? what type of town was it? >> it was smelly. it was dirty. it was suffering from cholera. it was a feeling that some of the water that was taken on board from plymouth on the mayflower was probably cholera infected. there's a lovely story that -- a
big controversy, was plymouth the final departing point or was it newland? a great rivalry in the part of the world. a lot of goalies taking waste away from the buildings into the sea. apparently the mayflower sailed on the same day but you can bet your bottom dollar the actual harbor itself would've been very smelly, very dirty, a lot of steam coming off the water. so in general not very nice. a lot of trade, a lot of trade obviously in fish. it was a huge fishing port. and wine, wall. coal was being delivered into plymouth from different parts of england in that time. treasure, obviously treasures that were taken.
so quite a hustling, bustling little town but dirty and filthy nonetheless. >> what it had been familiar to the pilgrims? >> no. it wouldn't have been familiar to the pilgrims. there were pilgrims from plymouth that joined the mayflower but most of the pilgrims came from lincolnshire and to the north and east of plymouth where the puritans or saint as they were called. of the 102 passengers, 50% were what we would call pilgrims. the other 50% were called strangers, so they were not particularly strong in terms of their rejection of james the first church of england. the puritans came from places like scrutiny manner where they illegally set up a church of worship before they went to holland. that were perhaps some people
from holland who would comeo join the ship, possibly in london. plymouth would've been their final calling port, and many of them stayed in some of the buildings like iron house. it was a fine accommodation within make arrangements for what to do with the passengers who were on board the speedwell who obviously were not going to travel on the speedwell. some of them went back home. some of them went back to holland and the rest of them went off on the very crowded mayflower. it would been a very unfamiliar and quite an alien place to those people who came very much for my -- [inaudible] background. >> how long had most of them been away from england before they set sail? >> many years. many years. they had tried to escape england and james i once before but were captured and brought before the king and were chastised within the managed to get away a few
years after that people like william brewster and william bradford and a lot of other guys who were very, very passionate, very staunch practices, or practitioners i should say of the puritan faith. they were led back into england by james the first who then gave them his blessing to get them out of the country. he said they could go to the new world, they could go to the americas, fighting i think he said providing they treat themselves respectively. they were in and out of england and then down to the ships. fortunately, not being chased or executed by the king but gently encouraged to go somewhere else. >> professor robert stone, thank you very much. >> great. thank you.