Large iron fishhook (ca.1650-1700) with a barbed, hooked end
The Wampanoag had been harvesting and consuming fish, eels, and shellfish for centuries when the Pilgrims settled in Patuxet in the 1620s. The Wampanoag had caught them with nets, harpoons, and fish hooks carved of bone, but when Europeans arrived they brought metal fishhooks, like this one. Initially, the colonists struggled with catching fish because many weren’t trained as fishermen and they had brought the wrong size fish hooks. In 1621, the Massasoit, Osamequin, offered to help teach the Pilgrims to fish and show them where to hunt in exchange for military assistance. Tisquantum also showed them how to catch fish, plant corn, and where to gather wild, edible plants.