Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Janice’s recent post at Cow Hampshire about the Viking Rock
at Hampton, New Hampshire put me in mind of several other
sites surrounded by mystery here in New England: Mystery
Hill in Salem, N.H., (the “American Stonehenge”); Newport
Tower in Newport, R.I., and Dighton Rock here in

The Dighton Rock controversy’s history resembles that of the
Viking Rock. Speculation on the origin and meaning of the
characters carved into the rock include Ancient Phoenicians,
Vikings, Portuguese explorers and Native Americans and was
a popular topic in Europe during the 1800’s. Scholars made
their fame and fortunes advancing one theory after another.

It would be easy to write it off as a 19th century hoax until
one learns the fact that no less an historical personage than
Cotton Mather made a drawing of the carvings in 1712 and
had described them in a book 22 years earlier in 1690. With
the exception of a few scribblings left by curiosity seekers
over the years, the markings remain just as Mather copied
them. You can see a picture of them taken in 1853 here on

Better still, you can read all about it here on the Archives
webpage of American Heritage Magazine. I’ve bookmarked
that site, let me tell you!

1 comment:

Janice said...


Thanks for the link. With so many rocks in the general vicinity with strange markings, you have to wonder about the origin.