Why The Dighton Rock Has Been A Mystery For Years

Somewhere in the reeds outside of Berkley, Massachusetts lies a 40-ton boulder that wouldn't seem remarkable at a glance but actually holds a centuries-old mystery that has yet to be properly explained. According to New England Today, a man named John Danforth was strolling about in the town of Dighton after having recently graduated from Harvard, all the way back in 1680. He spotted strange carvings on a rock, which he promptly drew and brought back to town. Over the centuries since, many have tried to discern what the drawings mean and who exactly put them there, with little success.

Danforth's original creator theory is one that holds the most water: Native Americans. There are other indigenous petroglyphs in the region, and the scene depicted of a battle against visitors arriving from a ship certainly holds up to the history of the tribes and nations around what is now New England. This theory has never been verified, however, and some more colorful ideas have come in the centuries since Danforth's discovery.

Theories include Vikings and aliens

Part of the confusion around Dighton Rock comes from Danforth's original sketch, which conflicts with the actual markings on the rock and other reports from the time (via Legends of America). Theories over who made the markings go far beyond the more reserved, logical guess that it was made by the Natives, and go on to assert it could have been the Portuguese, the Vikings, and even the Ancient Phoenicians who were the original artists. In the 1960s, the rock was moved to a new location where it could be more easily studied and viewed by the public, next to exhibits that provide evidence for each theory.

A museum has opened up on the new location where people can see the Dighton Rock up close and come to their own conclusion. Some researchers have noted that the rock functions as a sort of Rorschach test for those who see it, as the pictures and symbols involved are vague enough that they can support practically any theory (via New England Today). Anyone that happens to be in the Berkley area can pop in to see if they think the rock is the work of Natives, the Portuguese, or — of course — aliens.