A polished granite monument, the size of a tombstone, bearing the Old testament's 10 commandments stands on Lincolnville Beach in Maine on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Who put in there, and if it's on public or private property, has not yet been determined. Credit: Courtesy of Kelley Dionne

UPDATE: The Ten Commandments tablet on Lincolnville Beach is not on public property, town officials announced Monday afternoon. Read the updated story here.

A knee-high granite monument bearing the Old Testament’s Ten Commandments appeared on Lincolnville Beach Monday morning.

Town officials have yet to determine who put it there or if it is on public property.

“Portions of the beach are town owned, and some are private,” said Lincolnville Town Administrator David Kinney.

Kinney said he’d fielded several calls about the stone Monday morning but didn’t have any immediate answers.

“We’re doing a little investigating,” he said.

Kelly Dionne of Thorndike was surprised to find the upright, polished slab on the sand, next to a seawall this morning.

“I was taking a day to come down here with my kids,” Dionne said, “and it looks like a tombstone.”

Dionne said the monument was attached to large planks of wood, bolted together. Judging by the skid trails in the sand, it hadn’t been in position for very long. Dionne also said tire tracks around it looked to match those of a small tractor in a nearby parking lot.

The commandments are carved into the stone in a dramatic, vintage-style font and are shortened versions of those found in the King James translation of the Bible.

Workers at the Lincolnville Beach Store across Route 1 from the popular, sandy swimming spot, said they arrived around 9:30 a.m. and didn’t see anything unusual. So, the stone likely was placed prior to their arrival. 

Rev. Draa Mackey, of the Bayshore Baptist Church, just up the road, said he knew nothing about the religious monument on Monday.

“I’m not passing judgment,” Dionne said, “But my personal take is, if this turns out to be on public property, I don’t need this here.”

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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.