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Preservation of the Commonwealth’s cultural heritage is an important aspect of the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s mission. The cultural resources that can be found in our state parks and forests span thousands of years and includes Native American sites, cellar holes and stones walls that tell the story of the state’s earliest settlement patterns, military landscapes, historic estates, and a metropolitan park system designed by a pioneer of the profession of landscape architecture, Charles Eliot. With over 100 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including eight National Historic Landmarks, the cultural resources under DCR’s care tells the story of our state and our nation. The Office of Cultural Resources (OCR) carries out the DCR’s preservation mission through stewardship of the agency’s historic buildings, structures, landscapes, archaeological sites, and archival resources.

OCR staff provides professional expertise, technical assistance, project management skills, and training opportunities in the areas of landscape preservation, preservation planning, adaptive reuse, archaeology, archival records management , and compliance with local, state and federal historic preservation laws. In addition to leading the historic preservation programs and initiatives of the agency, OCR staff directly support activities undertaken by other bureaus and divisions within the agency. As a leader in the field of historic landscape preservation, the office also provides assistance to cities and towns through the development of innovative tools for protecting their significant historic landscapes.

Contact: Patrice Kish, Director at 617-626-1378

From the Field: Celebrating Massachusetts Native American Heritage Month

Dighton Rock, Berkley, MA
Dighton Rock, Berkley, MA - Photo scan courtesy of Harry Feldman Associates, Boston, MA

DCR is happy to announce "one of America's historic mysteries" SOLVED!
(as stated in the National Register of Historic Places Individual Nomination Form for Dighton Rock, Berkley, Massachusetts, 1971)

Dighton Rock in Berkley, MA, is known as "one of America's historic mysteries". More than 600 books and articles in many different languages have been written of the rock since 1680 producing over 35 theories as to the source of the inscriptions. In 2015, a collaborative effort between the DCR Office of Cultural Resources and Harry Feldman Associate's produced 3-D laser imaging of the petroglyphs. With this advanced 3-D technology, the carvings are clearly illuminated, challenging Viking, Portuguese, and Phoenician genesis.  This glacially deposited rock was carefully inscribed thousands of years old by indigenous people who were the very first people to settle this area.  One of the oldest known Native American artifacts in Massachusetts, DCR is soliciting expertise from local indigenous tribes, the archaeological community, geologists, and rock-art experts to interpret this sacred stone. Stay tuned!