Dighton Rock Carvings Solely of Aboriginal Origin


The following description, taken from Schoolcraft's History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Vol. IV, p. 119, which is accompanied with a plate, is, however, sufficient. It is merely a type of Algonkin rock-carving, not so interesting as many others:

‘The ancient inscription on a bowlder of greenstone rock lying in the margin of the Assonet, or Taunton River, in the area of ancient Vinland, was noticed by the New England colonists so early as 1680, when Dr. Danforth made a drawing of it. This outline, together with several subsequent copies of it, at different eras, reaching to 1830, all differing considerably in their details, but preserving a certain general resemblance, is presented in the Antiquatés Americanes (sic) (Tab. XI, XII) and referred to the same era of Scandinavian discovery. The imperfections of the drawings (including that executed under the auspices of the Rhode Island Historical Society, in 1830, Tab. XII) and the recognition of some characters bearing more or less resemblance to antique Roman letters and figures, may be considered to have misled Mr. Magnusen in his interpretation of it. From whatever cause, nothing could, it would seem, have been wider from the purport and true interpretation of it. It is of purely Indian origin, and is executed in the peculiar symbolic character of the Kekeewin'.

Source: Garrick Mallery, "On the Pictographs of the North American Indian," Fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, years 1882-1883, the Smithsonian Institution (1886): 13-256.

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