Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Dighton Rock

Sitting in the riverbed of the Taunton River in Berkley Massachusetts, facing the bay, rested the Dighton Rock.

Discovered nearly 300 years ago the 40-ton boulder is covered in puzzling petroglyphs, primarily made up of lines, geometric shapes, and schematic drawings of people. There is also writing on the rock, some of it verified and some of it not.

And English colonist first described the boulder in a writing:

Among the other Curiosities of New-England, one is that of a mighty Rock, on a perpendicular side whereof by a River, which at High Tide covers part of it, there are very deeply Engraved, no man alive knows How or When about half a score Lines, near Ten Foot Long, and a foot and half broad, filled with strange Characters: which would suggest as odd Thoughts about them that were here before us, as there are odd Shapes in that Elaborate Monument

Even before that another colonist drew a picture of the boulder (the drawing is preserved in a British museum), though is picture was not overly accurate since he couldn't see the whole thing due to the tide.

In 1963, due to dam construction, state officials removed the boulder and kept it for preservation.

No one has been able to solve the mystery of the writing on the rock and theories abound about who could have carved the petroglyphs, the more popular theories being Indigenous peoples of North America, who have historically carved petroglyphs in Vermont, ancient Phoenicians, the Vikings, the Chinese or the Portuguese.

Still, after 300 years, the mystery still remains.

Any theories?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since water beat on it for so long, I'm surprised the markings survived.

Josh said...

I think I read about this in WHO WAS FIRST? DISCOVERING THE AMERICAS, by Russell Freedman. Unless I am imagining that.

Matthew MacNish said...

H.P. Lovecraft probably had some theories. But ... wait - rivers have tides?

Rena said...

"Rivers have tides?" When they're at near sea level and drain into the ocean they do. That made me laugh, by the way.

Also, it doesn't look that mysterious. The first image shows what looks to be a bird man representation. Commonly, shamans from tribes that identified with birds would dress their shamans up like them. It could be a representation of a shaman or of the deity they represent.

Somewhat more startling is how similar the petroglyphs on a rock in Massachusetts are to petroglyphs seen on rocks in New Mexico.

Which can really only mean one thing: It was like that business card pin up board at the local coffee shop. "Need help moving?" or "Got edits?"

Jamie Gibbs said...

Lost ancient Mesoamericans?

Either that or aliens.

It's never aliens.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh wow I had never heard of Dighton Rock until this post. I think I may need to add it to my domestic bucket list. Happy Friday!!

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