What do the mysterious symbols on Dighton Rock mean?

1 Answer

Ever since humans have walked the earth, every generation has left its unique mark on history since then. Whether it is in the form of documentations, invention or any major discovery, humans have an inherent tendency to be curious and tenacious enough to find information about matters that challenges their understanding. There are many such examples and deciphering the mysterious symbols on the Dighton rock is one of them.

Dighton Rock:

During the melting of glaciers at the end of last ice age, many landscapes and geological structures were exposed from the covering of the snow. One of them is supposed to be a 40-ton boulder that arrived to the Taunton River in Massachusetts, USA. Named as Dighton Rock, it measures 5 feet(1.5 meters) high, 9.5 feet(2.9 meters) wide, and 11 feet (3.4 meters) long. It is composed of gray-brown crystalline sandstone. It has a sort of chiseled six sided structure and on one side Petroglyphs or rock carvings are found.


It is still a disputable topic about who is actually responsible for the rock inscriptions. Some claim that it was created by the settlers who came searching for the New World like the Europeans, Chinese or Japanese people. Some claim it to be the work of Native Indians and even Vikings.

Answer ImageBut the truth is that it could have been created by anyone as people have been creating such rock arts for as long as the human civilization has started. They could have been made by the locals or just any other passerby, whoever might have decided to leave a piece of his imagination on the rock. And the fact that it was present on the river bed, the constant erosion has led many difficulties by the experts to accurately date the Petroglyphs.

Official Investigations:

However, many scholars agree that the first official investigation about the rocks started in 1680, when Reverend John Danforth visited it. He made a rough copy of about half of it as the rest was immersed under tidal water. He deduced that it was the work of Native Indians or the local Wampanoag Indians and interpreted the symbols as depicting a battle between locals and newcomers.

In 1689, Reverend Cotton Mather stated it as the work of Satanists explorers who perished upon the arrival of Puritans. In 1783, congregationalist minister and academic Erz Stiles said that it was made by Ancient Phoenicians leading speculations that the Norse or early Portuguese explorers did it simply to leave a mark of their presence.

From 20th Century:

A French scholar, Antone Court de Gebelin said that the symbols hewn on the rock depicted past, present and future. By 1831, many scholars have even linked the hieroglyphs to ancient Hebrew words and the Old Testament even linking it to King Solomon's regime. In 1963, the rock was removed from the river and kept in a museum in the Dighton State Park. In 1980, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Over the years, these Petroglyphs have been the centre of attention for many historians, amateur archaeologists, students and tourists alike,who flock to the location to witness the carvings which have been the topic for over 35 hypothesis officially and inspiration for about 1000 books and articles. Although the origins or interpretation of the symbols have yet to be revealed, but one thing has been absolutely confirmed that these Petroglyphs are genuine and very old.

Related Questions
Top Writers