A Mystery on Cape Cod

Epigraph of Bourne Stone

Epigraph of Bourne Stone

We have all heard of the famous Rock in Plymouth, but have you heard about the one in Bourne? My brother-in-law came across a blog, lewrockwell.com, and sent me the link. I was hooked. I went on to other sites to research the rock, known as the Bourne Stone. There is a strange inscription on the stone which many learned scholars have attempted to translate.
It seems the stone was recognized by the early settlers on the Cape as curious, if not an artifact. One of the several early Indian meetinghouses, established by Thomas Tupper in Bourne, used the stone as a doorstep. It is a 300 pound piece of granite, about 4-foot by 1 1/2-foot, and it currently resides in the Jonathan Bourne Historical Society.
There is a plethora of information, epigraphs, and artifacts that show the Pilgrims were not the second (to the Native Americans) people to arrive on the Cape. Actually, our forefathers meant to arrive at Plymouth—thus the other famous Rock. But the Pilgrims were the second group of people that settled here permanently. By DNA studies, we know that even our Native Americans came from another continent, Asia, and settled in the Americas. But we know others, including the Vikings, arrived on our shores earlier.
Back to the Stone. No one really knows how the inscription’s (which I attempted to recreate from Beverly Moseley’s original drawing for you) epigraph translates. Here are three attempts: Olaf Strandwold offered “Jesus amply provides for us here and in heaven” earlier this century. There is the Hanno Theory. Howard “Barry” Fell, the late Harvard University professor translated, “A proclamation of annexation. Do not deface. By this Hanno takes possession” in the 1970s. In the 1990s, a Phoenician language scholar, Dr. Mark A McMenamin offers the top line as a map of Nantucket Sound, and translates the second line as “Stone marker that reveals three plus one observations by Q”. The Stone remains an unsolved mystery.
If Fell’s theory that Hanno was Hanno the Navigator is correct, the stone would date to 570 BC. Other Native American scholars theorize the markings are natural or Native America Petroglyphs, per Wikipedia. Which theory will someday be proven?
I love a good Cape Cod mystery. Thank goodness for the courage, intellect, and tenacity of the Indiana Joneses who incite our curiosity about early explorers and the traces they left behind!


About Gerri

I'm in my second career. Besides raising my beautiful family, worked as RN. Now I'm a novelist. Have completed five novels and working on my sixth. Way more fun than nursing! Happy hubby and neurotic cat hang out with me.

Posted on June 22, 2015, in Issues of Interest, On Cape Cod and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Gerrie Costello

    I tried to leave a comment but it wouldn’t work Sorry…The blog was wonderful ! The say there is a technical issue ! Mom

  2. Maybe it came from the first doctor to ever practice in Bourne?? Top line: Dosage – “Best Downed With Quince Paste” Second line: (indecipherable medication for Scarlet Fever)….And I haven’t even had a glass of wine before this silly post!! Just funnin’ ya…….Hope you and Ron are doing well – love to read your blogs…..

    • I love that you read my blogs! And I love your translation of a doc’s Rx. How many times I’ve tried to decipher a doctor’s notes! Quince Paste! hehehehe

    • You have always been so supportive, Annie. You will be at the Book Launch but hope to see you before that! xoxo

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