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Monday, June 23, 2008

Historian Faces Charges for Moving Landmark

An Ohio-based historian was indicted by a federal grand jury for moving a landmark, 8-ton boulder from the Ohio River.

Steve Shaffer pulled the Indian Head Rock from the Ohio River and moved it to a garage in Portsmouth, OH. The rock was used as a navigational landmark for centuries and many carved their name into it, including one American Indian (possibly). The rock had been submerged since the 1920s and Shaffer said it was being neglected and in danger of being destroyed.

Shaffer led the efforts to move the archaeological object back in September, 2007. This is technically a felony, and even though many officials and media in Ohio lauded his efforts, officials in Kentucky were less than pleased. Critics point the finger squarely at Kentucky Democrats.

Of course, if these officials were so concerned about the relic, then why did they continue to neglect it? As Shaffer notes, "It's not about historic preservation... it's about revenge." Greenup County Commonwealth's attorney agrees, saying 'It's not about the fate of the rock, but that it was removed without a proper permit. What's important is that the law of Kentucky be observed.'

While Shaffer admits that he is 'amazed it couldn't be resolved any other way,' Kentucky Rep., Reginald Meeks (D), said, "Perhaps now those individuals who are involved in this over in Ohio, and the media, will take this more seriously."

Shaffer faces up to five years in federal prison, if convicted.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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