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Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office
Groups announce Wednesday press conference to discuss illegal removal of Indian Head Rock from the Ohio River

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 27, 2008  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

Multi-agency press conference to clarify Kentucky’s position on the illegal removal of Indian Head Rock from the Ohio River in 2007.  Indian Head Rock is an important Native American and historic artifact protected under state and federal laws governing the looting of antiquities and archaeological sites.  A brief press conference will be followed by a question-and-answer session

2 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 (E.S.T.)
Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda

Representatives of the Kentucky Legislature, Kentucky Native American Heritage
Commission, University of Kentucky Office of State Archaeology, Kentucky
Archaeological Survey, Kentucky Office of the Attorney General and the Kentucky
Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office


  • Kentucky State Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, a member of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission
  • Dr. George Crothers, state archaeologist, director of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and UK associate professor
  • Dwight Cropper, part-time staff archaeologist with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey and UK Program for Archaeological Research, Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission member and Greenup County resident
  • Cliff Duvall, Commonwealth Attorney for Greenup and Lewis counties


  • Kentucky State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-Boyd/Greenup
  • Helen Danser of Tyner, Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission chair
  • Janet Graham, Assistant Kentucky Attorney General
  • Donna Neary, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer
  • Dr. David Pollack, Kentucky Heritage Council site protection manager and director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, a partnership of the Heritage Council and UK Department of Anthropology
  • Michael French, president of the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists (KYOPA)

For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, Indian Head Rock was an important landscape feature along the Ohio River significant to both Native Americans and other residents of Greenup County, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio, noted by some of the earliest visitors to the region.  The rock features a possible Native American petroglyph as well as signatures and dates of 19th and early 20th century residents from both sides of the Ohio.

Indian Head Rock was removed from the Ohio River last year and remains in the possession of the city of Portsmouth.  As an archaeological site (15Gp173) recorded by the Office of State Archaeology, the removal of Indian Head Rock constitutes theft of Kentucky state property and violates both federal and state antiquities laws, consequences of which will be discussed during the press conference.  Unfortunately, because of this theft, perhaps the artifact’s greatest significance is lost – that is the opportunity to preserve it in place, fully study the context in which it was located and interpret it to the public in its original setting.

A complete packet of information will be provided during the briefing.
For questions prior to the press conference, call Dr. David Pollack at the Kentucky Heritage Council, 502-564-7005, ext. 123.

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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 5/27/2008