Thursday, November 4, 2010

(archaeological) war of northern aggression

Apparently, Ohio stole an 8-ton boulder from Kentucky. Kentucky wants it back, since it was a well-known landmark and (maybe?) antiquity. The antiquity part is rather unclear. The article says the rock may have a face carved on it, but I've seen a lot of supposedly carved rocks brought in by enthusiastic amateurs, so I'd like to see some professional analysis, first. (For years there was a video circulating around the U of Michigan archaeology museum made by a local man who was convinced that the naturally-shaped rocks he found were "Indian artifacts". The video was just him holding up each of the rocks, one by one. Oddly hilarious.)

I can't wrap my head around the 8-ton part of this story. I mean, how much equipment was needed to move an 8-ton boulder, out of a river, no less? The perpetrator was described as a "local historian" from the Ohio side. The story reminds me of medieval European cities poaching each others holy relics, although I have no idea what the motivation was of the Ohio historian, nor do I know the social, political, or economic meaning of the boulder.

8 tons. Holy cow.

Like my students, I should have turned to Wikipedia first for salvation. The Wikipedia article on the boulder shows the carving (definitely humanly-created, but I'd assume historic. Of course, what do I know about prehistoric petroglyphs of the Ohio Valley?) It also gives more details of who, what, when, and where, including the Kentucky House of Representative's proposal to send a raiding party into Ohio to reclaim the rock.

This just gets better and better.

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