The ABCD of Dighton Rock
By Manuel Luciano da Silva, M. D.

By means of the Internet, I consulted many  archaeologists across the United States of  America, Canada, England, Germany, Holland,  and Portugal, to help me to make the  diagnosis of  the original inscriptions  engraved on the 55 square feet surface of  Dighton Rock, in Berkley, Massachusetts.

All the answers I received, so far, from all the specialist,  informed me   that “they did not know, or that  it was not within their archaeological specialty”. But these responses  are not going to stop my perseverance in searching  for some Epigraphist,  in the entire world,  who specializes in Portuguese Epigraphy  of the XV and XVI centuries.  I am going to continue to use the Internet and at the same time invite anyone in the world to help me solve the mystery of the Dighton Rock inscriptions. I think we all can learn a lot in the process of making the differential diagnosis of Dighton Rock inscriptions.  A true scientist never stops looking for the truth, and is always willing to learn more and more! It is, indeed,  lots of fun searching for the truth!  

For anyone to be an epigraphist has to know many languages. The greatest  epigraphist of all time was Jean-Francois Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta Stone. He knew fourteen languages!  An epigraphists has to know the various alphabets (Phoenician, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Runic, Ogam),  but also the Hindu-Arabian numerals and the National and Religious Symbols of all nations. Unfortunately the American archaeologists-epigraphists are not familiar  with  these icons.

 Even though I am opened to any other diagnosis of Dighton Rock inscriptions, I present here to all the readers, the basic information for the Portuguese connection of Dighton Rock inscriptions.  One just needs  to know the Portuguese ABCD of Dighton Rock! 


The Portuguese ABCD of Dighton Rock 


(A)  The numeral 5  is like a capital S

The Arabs when they conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 711A.D.,   left  the Hindu-Arabic numerals, which  started  to be used instead  of the Roman letters for numbers. 

Through out  Portugal and Portuguese overseas colonies, during the XVI  century,  all the 1500 dates were engraved with  the numeral 5 in a  shape of a capital S,  as we use today.  

 Photographs :




  Tomb stone in Continental  Portugal with date 1S99         










Portuguese Church in Seri-Lanka
with  the date 1S01










Now observe the date 1S11 with the five like a capital S,  engraved on Dighton Rock











(B) The Portuguese National symbols: “U”  and “V” shaped

At the present time (March 2002) there are in the world 204 independent states, or nations. Portugal, in the most western part of Europe, will be celebrating NINE centuries of independence in the year of 2039. In size it is a small country ( equal to the size of state of Maine, in U. S. A.), but because of its great  discoveries which involved more than  2/3 of the oceans, Portugal has a glorious history. 

Yet the major American Encyclopedias (Britannica Encyclopedia, World Book, Encyclopedia  Americana, etc.) do not have any information about the Portuguese National Symbols. This is a fact that needs to be corrected! 
Portugal has two National Symbols: one “V” and the other “U” shaped. They are both engraved on the face of Dighton Rock.




Compared the “V” shaped Portuguese Coat of Arms  above With the one below engraved on Dighton Rock

































(C)  The unique Portuguese Cross of the Order of Christ, with 45 degree extremities

If we consult the “Encyclopedia Heraldica” by William Berry of 1828 (Harvard University Library, in Cambridge, Massachusets), we can verify that there are more than 300 different crosses in the world.

One fact that needs to be corrected in North America  is that, unfortunately,  NONE  of the popular American Encyclopedias make any reference to the Portuguese Cross of the Order of Christ, which, among 300  different crosses,  has  the unique characteristics of having its  branches terminating in  45 degree angles.  This cross was the symbol of the Portuguese discoveries  and was displayed on the sails of its caravels. There are four of these crosses engraved on the face of Dighton Rock.
























(Above and Left) Note the extremities terminating in 45 degree angles













Vasco da Gama's Nau, right, in the Dighton Rock Museum 












Today’s  Sagres Ship, Portuguese Nautical School

























The Portuguese Cross of the Order of Christ  engraved on Dighton Rock










(D) The  different types of letting in Portugal,  in XV and XVI centuries 

 The fourth icon we must know, in order  to be able to read the  Portuguese epigraphic findings  of the XV and XVI centuries, is the formats of the  lettering used at that time.  The best source for this  letterings are the XV and XVI centuries Portuguese  maps or cartography. 

The Portuguese inherited the Roman alphabet, which was copied from the Greeks, with a total of 21 letters. Later they added G (derived from C)  and Y (derived from V).  The letters J,  U, and W were not used by the Romans at all. Because the Roman alphabet did not have the letter U, the V was used instead.

During the discoveries, the Portugueses stone cutters had always preferred the V over the letter U. During the Middle Ages, in Portugal different scribes adopted the shape of the letters which suited their favored styles, such as Roman, the Uncial, and Gothic forms. The name of the Miguel Corte Real was inscribed on Dighton Rock with these three type of letters.







The 3 types of letting engraved
on Dighton Rock










Photos taken by Edmund Delabarre in 1924, at night,  with light sideways






















                   Three photos by Delabarre with light sideways 





















Color photo, at night with light sideways,  by National Geographic Magazine in 1975 















Conclusion of the Portuguese inscriptions

                                Compare with the Portuguese National  Symbols


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