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tv   Virtual Mayflower Project  CSPAN  April 16, 2021 11:01am-11:38am EDT

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c-span3. >> 60 years ago this weekend, more than 1400 cuban exiles launched a failed invasion to overthrow fidel castro's communist government in cuba at the bay of pigs, live saturday, 9:00 a.m. eastern. we'll look back at the invasion and its consequences with former cia historian nicholas dumovich. and on sunday for reel america, an edited version of the 1961 nbc report "cuba, bay of pigs." president john f. kennedy's 1961 speech after the failed invasion, complicated newsreels on the cuba revolution through the bay of pigs invasion. and a 1960 broadcast, "cuba, the battle of america." exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3.
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in 1620, the mayflower traveled from england to america, and the pilgrims settled in massachusetts. we talked to robert stone about the virtual mayflower project which uses virtual reality to recreate the ship and the plymouth england harbor from which it set sail. here's a look. in 1620, the 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 recreate the ship and the harbor from which it set sail. using avatars and 360-degree images of the virtual world, professor stone describes what life might have been like for the pilgrims and crew.
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>> 1620 has been a great labor of love for me over the past six years. it's about trying to use rectory art to bring the mayflower back to life, so that we can experience what it was like for the pilgrims in their mammoth journey across the atlantic back in 1620. what was it like for them? what was the last thing they saw before they got on this leaky, creaky ship and made their way out to the atlantic all those centuries ago? >> we're going to jump right in and take a look at some of those 360s. >> where we are here at the moment is the nukey. if you move to the right slightly, you can just about make out the mast of the what we decided was we would leave the speedwell looking very sorry for herself, listing to port in the harbor where there was a lot of shipwork and ship repairs going on.
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with these fine people having a chat, this is reminiscent of an old fish market, and, in fact, there was a fish market in the barbercon right up to the 1960s. a lot of fish would be brought and filleted. that would be done here, ships would be moored and delivering all their fish into the fish filleting crew, who would then box it up, put it onto wagons or take it directly to some of the stores that would have been available outside the buildings that are, in fact, behind where we're looking at this image. again, you can see the speedwell, much clearer on this picture.
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it remains the speedwell there. you can see that it's quite dirty. it's got an awful lot of mud, not very hygienic. today most of this will be covered by paving slabs or concrete, but in 1620, there is very little of that. and a lot of wooden keys and docking areas would have been there. just on the left would be the location of jacka's bakery. jacka's bakery still exists. it's the oldest bakery in the u.k. that's another claim to fame for this area. and jacka's bakery would have supplied the biscuits and the food that the pilgrims would have taken on the mayflower for the final journey.
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it still sells a variety of breads and biscuits and pies. it's a very popular bakery. many pubs would come on the streets a little later on which were historically renowned for their pubs and a lot of accommodation. so a lot of the people who lived in this area would have been fishermen, and their wives would help them prepare the fish, sell the fish. a lot of the front spaces, the fronts of these houses would have been covered -- had we had time would have been covered with burrows and shells, selling all kinds of things from wine to fish. we're now getting closer to the barbercon gate. you can see the mayflower. the mayflower is in the distance.
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that's -- the mayflower is moored near -- we'll see it in a second -- the catwater. we'll see the location of the current catwater harbors, catwater commissioner's office in just a second. on the left there, you can see on the left, if you can look left a little bit, you can see the fish house. and just about on the sea, you can see the remains of the chain coming from the fish house. there is some argument that says that chain wasn't around in the 1620s. but before we put it in, it's such a historically important feature. if you look to your right, this is where part of the -- which is not very reputable, you can see where the harbor master's office is.
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to the right of the steps is the tour office. to the right of that is a place called island house where many of the pilgrims would have had their last couple nights in england. the steps are castle steps. so those steps would originally have gone up to the castle, up past the castle. this was also known as damnnation alley, would you believe. that single route up there had ten pubs and each pub was a brothel. not a very nice place, but obviously when you've got sailors coming in, you've got fishermen coming in, and obviously if they wanted a manner of like relief, that's where they would head. that's certainly where they would go. you can see the representation of island house just to the right, what we call jettied houses. just behind these houses there is the famous elizabethan house.
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they're called jettied, because as they go up, each floor sticks up a little more than the one underneath. that's called a jettied house. if you want to turn around and see the stores, it's politically incorrect, but an historical fact -- well, as far as we're aware, an historical fact. so they would have brought not just nagging wives, they would have brought all kinds of convicts down here. some of the offenders would be put in stalks, some would be put in the stepping stool. at the moment we've got harbor at low tide, so if a woman were to be dunked, she would be dunked in mud.
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if you turn to your right and look up, you'll be able to see the location of plymouth castle. plymouth castle may have been more in a state of ruin than we showed here. you can see, where you're looking now, that tower in the distance, that is an outer gate house and that outer gate house is the only piece of the castle that exists today. again, you walk up what we call lambay hill, and you can get in and see the remains of that gate house. so, again, i'm sure it will be much busier than this. when you're walking around this in realtime, these guys are moving around. some of them are having an argument. then we can go to the part of the actual entry, a covered walkway, down to the steps themselves. again, a lot of controversy over
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where -- whether the real mayflower steps exist. there is talk that they exist in the ladies' restroom near the pub. not sure that's accurate, but we've got them where they're typically placed in most of the maps we've actually seen. in the base of the steps, we've got a little shallop, not unsimilar to the shallop that the mayflower took to cape cod, and they were able to assemble it. it was taken over in four pieces, so they had to assemble the shallop and then they put the shallop on the land at provincetown and ultimately took it to the famed plymouth rock. and then in the actual virtual reality demonstration, you can see the fish house there, you can see the chain. so, again, even though it may
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not have been there in the 1620s, it was definitely the most important part of the fortification. the observers could look down, and if they thought it was a threat, the chain could come up. on the virtual demonstration itself, you're automatically taken out to the mayflower in this rickety little boat, and you can see the view of plymouth that the mayflower pilgrims were seeing. the system would take you up onto the ship itself, and we've got various pilgrims and crew. the guy sat directly in front of you with a hat on in the demo itself, as you'll see in the video later on, is not at all well. that's bad news because the ship hasn't even left the harbor yet, so he's not going to fare very well going to the americas in the coming weeks, the coming 66
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days that these guys and gals were at sea. so, again, we can look back into plymouth. that was the vatican. we left the castle in some state of ruin, but that's probably the last view they would ever see before sailing out across plymouth sound, past the famous howl, as it is today. there may be a beacon, a windmill, we don't know. and then right out into the atlantic and on to the americas. the guy that you're seeing here
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with the rather bouffant hairstyle is our representation of winslow. we decided to put one avatar that was representative of a known character, and winslow, obviously because of my present-day relationship with droitwich, if we ever have the opportunity to go forward, we'll be able to go into places like the captain's cabin, and christopher jones, the captain, get them to explain their stories. william brewster, bradford, the lady who gave birth to oceanus, the one child who was born during the actual transit. and also john harrigan. he was actually a servant of a governor who was on board the ship. he fell overboard during the 66 days crossing the atlantic, but managed, miraculously, to grab a rope and put himself back on board. if he hadn't done that, then george w. bush and george bush would never have existed because they're descendants of harrigan.
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some of these guys, if we could make these avatars tell their story, how fantastic that would be. so there we're going into the stern of the ship. that's the -- that particular structure there, which is designed to really be able to pull in wires and ropes and to be able to secure the ship and secure various pieces of cobble coming onto the ship, this is the main deck. that's called a capstan. if you go to what would be the tiny captain's cabin, on the left you can see the stake on the left. that was a very small -- relatively small stake that
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controlled the rudder. that controlled the steerage of the ship, then you have the captain's cabin, obviously the best cabin on the ship. he had his own little bed. this is where we believe the mayflower compact, in which bradford had a large hand in, this is where they -- well, you see the pictures of them signing the compact before they set sail in the shallop to plymouth, this is where the compact would have been drawn up and signed. above the cabin on the poop deck is another tiny office -- i don't want to say an office, it was a cabin which will contain weapons, will contain maps. one thing we hope to do in the future was to go below. it's very empty at the moment. it was nowhere near as spacious as this.
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the gap between the ceiling and the floor is about 5 foot. you can see the capstan coming through. we need the put in the windlass which brought the anchors in. we obviously have to put in many more beds, many 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 here, but again, sadly, we didn't have enough time to finish it off. but if you look at the capstan, that was something i specifically photographed at plymouth plantation to try to get the accuracy of the capstan from that visit. and you can see just behind the ladder there -- it may have been a ladder, it may have been a rope ladder, we don't know, but
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you can see the mechanism of the tiller coming down from the deck above, and then the complex would have been what goes to the stern and then controls the rudder. so lots of things going on, lots of armaments, lots of weapons. i can't get my head around how cramped it would have been for 66 days. rarely did they go on deck because it was incredibly stormy, and, as we're finding out, extraordinarily dangerous. toward the front, or should i say toward the bow, there is another area that you can go to. that cabin there, which is right of the bow of the ship, is where most of the 30 sailors 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 have been done. there was a brickwork -- almost
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like a kiln type of oven in there, hanging meat. again, not particularly hygienic. water and beer. the beer was healthier to drink than the water because the water was infected. a lot of that would be brought from the cargo hold and brought into that particular cabin for preparation. so we have a fraction of the things. what we would love to do is get sponsored to -- if you look up towards the top of that deck, you can see what looks like a small cannon. now, i wasn't aware of this, this is called a swivel gun, and i wasn't aware that they had these weapons until, again, plymouth plantation. we had two original weapons in a couple of the recreation of the houses they have at the
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plantation, and these were filled with small -- tiny, miniature cannonballs and the idea was they would be used to repel borders if they were attacked. so much we could do more with to make this a much more educational and historic tool. we live in hope. >> before we exit the 360, can you talk a little bit about what the crossing would have been like? you mentioned they would have been below deck most of the time. what other details, if you did gain this out, would you want to include? >> well, one of the original ambitions of the virtual mayflower project was to almost recreate part of the sailing virtually, but to do it hand in hand with maybe schools in massachusetts, maybe schools in the plymouth area. because it would be great if we could then use the mayflower in plymouth to show schools in the
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u.s. what it was like in the 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. crossing the south would have been horrendous. we know there was one baby born, we know there was one person that died. we know of john harrigan's story of being swept overboard. we know that one of the main beams actually split during one of the most difficult storms. fortunately, because they had a jack screw, they were able to put the beam back and keep it intact. if that had gone, the whole ship would have been compromised. so there are all kinds of events and just the hardship of being stuck in that tiny area. the seasickness would have been horrendous, the hygiene would have been horrendous. and, again, it's very glamorously portrayed when you see the pilgrims kneeling and
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praying near plymouth rock. but they must have been so glad to get off that ship. really, they must have been glad. >> the mayflower project isn't actually your first foray into recreating historic ships. how did you get started into that? >> the first project, i would say roughly 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 to be able to see the ship from the air on its final resting place, so when you fly the drone, you see the 3-d ship looking down through the masts onto the ship itself was actually a world first. so as a result of this, we were invited to quite a few maritime events, conferences, meetings, including meetings of the
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mayflower 400 trail towns. these are the towns across england that were involved in home, if you like, for many of the pilgrims before they made their way to london to set out 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 very close on the horizon. >> what did some of those early models look like? >> they were quite basic. fortunately, and this is a great feeling, there are a lot of really good assets that you can buy or download free of charge online. we were able to find two very basic models, one of the mayflower and one of the ship that accompanied the mayflower, which is the speedwell. the speedwell never made it. she was left in plymouth because she was leaking like a sieve. we were able to put these two
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ships into a virtual reality scene using the same harbor model that we used for the end. we could put that into virtual reality for the public, for schoolchildren, and people involved in the trails committee to experience what it might be like if we were given free rein and taken the child to its ultimate completion. >> were you given free rein? >> we were given free everything. we got absolutely zero funding for this project, and all the early presentations and demonstrations came to nothing. the money has been spent quite extensively elsewhere. being peruvian born and bred, and i currently live in a town called joy spar, it became a labor of love. i thought, no, we're going to do this. somehow we're going to do this. sure enough, we were able to do
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it, so we had free rein because we were not at anyone's beck and call. we managed to deliver it for the 16th of september of this year, which is the time to take part in the commemorations. >> what was 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 we're focusing on, which is the harbor that was really the beginning of plymouth town, 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 the street was, so it was a very long series of many research studies. consulting with historical experts.
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marshall reed has given us information that was incredibly helpful. these heritage projects very much rely on a certain amount of interpretation, and when you've got such scant resources to go by, then, yes, you're never going to get it 100% right. and there 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 were going to do the mayflower project, it made sense to me to find out as much information as we could not only about the original mayflower, but the mayflower ii. the mayflower ii was in a
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village just around the corner. it was given to the united states as a gift and sailed across the atlantic in 1957 to commemorate the landing of the pilgrims. and the mayflower ii has recently come out of mystic seaport on the eastern coast after a major multi-million-dollar remodel. i was lucky enough to find a few pennies in my pocket to go to grover in boston and travel to plymouth, and i got absolutely fantastic reception from the crew of the mayflower ii, and the guys and gals who run plymouth plantation. without that visit, we would not be able to put together the detail that we have. so i spent time on the mayflower ii with a series of 360-degree spherical panorama cameras.
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we even had one of the cameras in the crow's nest to gate really nice view of the ship from above. it was taken to plymouth plantation where they have the most fantastic wardrobe. the assets and antiquities they have in this place, as well as plans relating to the original mayflower ii to build and design. i came on 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 mystic seaport, to be able to resolve the details of the timbers. without the kind and generous donations of knowledge and images from plymouth plantation, we would have had a lot of problems. >> how do you translate some of
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those details and information you found in plymouth, massachusetts to the virtual world? >> the photographs -- we were able to take photographs of some of the actors and actresses that they have on board performing the duties of the crew or the behaviors of the pilgrims. so to take those and to be able to use those to take our virtual humans, our avatars, as we call them, and put them in relatively accurate dress and clothing and get them doing things on board the ship or walking along the harbor, that was one thing we could do. so we could directly map from the photographs of the people in plymouth, massachusetts onto the virtual humans. and 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 model to make it look more realistic. we were able to use some of the
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3-d information. we can drop that into 3-d and then put it in small detail. every piece of information is used. nothing is wasted. >> how were you able to come across the same type of details for the town? because that's a big part of the project as well. >> the town in the area was very, very difficult. we used a combination of resources. obviously the maps i've already described gave us some degree of confidence, but the potential layout of that part of the town back in the 1620s, the buildings were predominantly medieval. now, that's quite fortunate because there are some very good asset sites online where you can buy medieval buildings.
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they're fairly basic, but we could use the 3-d structure and we could then take some of the photographs of older buildings and some of the buildings that exist in sutton harbor today, and again, map those images, the blocks, the wood, we can map them to give them some degree of authenticity. but, again, a lot of interpretation and a lot of advice from historians to make sure we didn't go over the top with something that looked 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. there is a feeling that some of the water that was taken on board from plymouth onto the mayflower was probably cholera infected. and then there is a lovely story that they may have forgotten to call into a small fishing town before sailing, so the big controversy there, was plymouth
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the final resting point or was it muley? it was unsanitary. the gullies taking waste from the buildings somewhere. you can bet your bottom dollar that the actual harbor itself would have been very smelly, very dirty, a lot of steam coming off the water. so, in general, not very nice. and they were trading fish. there was a huge fishing port and wine, wool, from different parts of england at that time. treasure, obviously, and galleons that were attacked and treasure was taken. so quite a hustling, bustling little town, but dirty, filthy
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nonetheless. >> would it have been familiar to the pilgrims? >> no. it wouldn't have been familiar to the pilgrims. there were pilgrims in plymouth who joined the mayflower, but most of the pilgrims came from lincolnshire, to the north and to the east of plymouth where the puritans or saints, as they were called, and of the roughly 102%, 50% were what were called pilgrims, the other 50% were strangers, so they weren't particularly strong in terms of their rejection of the church of england. so the puritans came from places like scroovy manor where they set up a place of worship from holland. they would have had people come from holland, join the ship,
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possibly in london. so plymouth would have been their final calling port, and many of them stayed in some of the buildings. they were making arrangements for what to do with the passengers who were on board the speedwell who obviously weren't going to challenge the speedwell. some of them went back home, some of them went back to holland and the rest got onto the very crowded mayflower. it would have been very unfamiliar and quite an alien place to those people who came from a country background. >> how long had most of them been away from england before they set sail? >> oh, many years. many years. they had tried escaping once before but were captured and brought before the king and were chastised, but then they managed to get away to leyden where people like william brewster,
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william bradford, guys who were very staunch practitioners of the puritan faith. they were led back into england by james i, who then gave them his bless lging to get them out of the country. he said they could go to the new world, they could go to the americas. he was actually glad to see the back of them. but 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. >> bob stone, thank you very much. weeknights this month we're
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featuring american history programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight milton jones recalls his experience in the vietnam war. he talked about his reluctance to serve in the vietnam war. part of vietnam war oral histories for the veterans history project. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. >> american history tv on c-span3, exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. 60 years ago this weekend, more than 1400 cia-trained cuban exiles launched a famed invasion to overthrow communist government in cuba at the bay of
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pigs live saturday at 9:00 a.m. we'll look back at the consequences with lucas dumovich. and on sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern, an edited version of the 1961 report, "cuba, bay of pigs." john f. kennedy's speech after the failed invasion. a compilation of newsreels from 1958 to 1961 of the bay of pigs invasion. and a 1960 broadcast, "cuba, the battle of america." exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. american history tv on c-span3. funding for american history


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