Who Engraved the Dighton Rock?
by Christine B.
Over 300 years ago, on the shores of the Taunton River in Berkley, Massachusetts a ten feet high sandstone rock appeared at low tide that no one had noticed before. In 1680 Reverend John Danforth decided to examine the rock more closely and to attempt to decipher the unusual petrographs that are carved onto its surface. The rock was 5’ high, 11’ long, and 10’ wide and it weighs over forty tons. There were drawings on all outside surfaces of the boulder, which is believed to be over
10,000 years old. It weighs over 40 tons. Rev. Danforth drew out the petrographs found on the rock to try to understand who carved them and what they were trying to tell us. There was much speculation about who had carved the rock, but nothing “concrete” has ever been discovered.
In 1916, Professor Edmund B. Delabarre decided to study the rock again. He found a date of 1511 and the name of Miguel Corte Real (Indian leader) carved on the rock. The professor also discovered a Portuguese shield on the rock. Dr. Manuel L. Da Silva, formerly a noted historian from Portugal, also studied the rock for years. He believes that the Portuguese had been in America before Columbus, and that they made the carvings in the rock. He bases his theory on the fact that many people (Native Americans) and their tribes had Portuguese names when they were discovered by Columbus.
No one has determined with certainty who really created the carved images on the Dighton Rock. In 1963 the rock was moved to a small museum to protect it from the elements and vandals. The rock and museum have been registered as a National Historic Place since 1980.
DIGHTON ROCK STATE PARK, Bay View Avenue, Berkley, Massachusetts 02779*
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