Leifs Rock

Leif EriksonThere has been a debate in New England as to who were the first visitors to our shores. Centered in this debate are several inscriptions in stone that were found in the Narragansett Basin. The first was the well-known Dighton Rock which was initially recorded in 1680. After that, over 20 other inscriptions were discovered along the shores of southeastern New England. These inscriptions have inspired many theories concerning possible pre-colonial visitors. Such theories suggest Vikings, the Portuguese, the Chinese, the Phoenicians and even Irish monks were possibly the first people to set foot in the northeast.

In 2012 we began hunting down many of the lesser known rock inscriptions in the Narragansett Basin. So far we have located the Tiverton Petroglyphs, Mark Rock, the Portsmouth Cupstone, King’s Rock, and Leif’s Rock. We were able to find the inscriptions on all the stones but King’s and Leif’s Rocks. King’s Rock is currently covered by so much dirt and forest debris it will be difficult to locate the inscription if it does still exist.


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Strange New England - Runestone of Leif Erikson

Narragansett Runestone - FolkloreMany know of the Dighton Rock. Another popular rock with a rune inscription is called the Narragansett Rock or Pojac Point Rock. It is the second most commonly spoken of landmark in Rhode Island concerning the possible pre-colonial visit by Vikings. The most popular landmark in Rhode Island that is claimed to have been built by Vikings is the Newport tower. What many do not know is that there are many other rocks in Rhode Island that are believed to also have runes inscriptions. Though most are believed to be hoaxes, Indian markings, or just natural features, they are interesting curios of Rhode Island culture and history.


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Strange New England - Symbol Rock

In Rockville, Rhode Island, located in Yawgoog Scout Reservation, is a petroglyph that has baffled historians and archaeologists. On the local map, its noted as Symbol Rock. Experts have described the images as a woman with child, and various circular line drawings and depressions.  No one really knows what it’s meaning or purpose could be. Settlers discovered many of these rocks, but most were destroyed when the land was cleared for farms, or when the rocks were used for walls and buildings. Symbol Rock is one of the few stones that survived unharmed. Settlers that saw the rock were as puzzled as we are today. Local Indians did not provide any insight as to it’s origin. Archaeologists have many theories as to who created these carvings. Some experts claim a much earlier generation of Narragansett Indians may have carved the images. Others argue that the symbols are not at all like any known Indian symbols, and resemble Viking, Pre-Colombian Celtic, or Phoenicians symbols.


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