I-69 expansion creates dispute over ancient stone

Scotland, Indiana (AP) July 2011

An Indiana property owner says she may wind up in court in a dispute over a centuries-old rock that was unearthed in Greene County during the state’s work to expand Interstate 69.

Georgia Flinn says a stone ancient Native Americans likely used to crack nutshells was unearthed on her property near Scotland, about 75 miles northeast of Evansville, in November 2006. Such stones are believed to date from the early archaic period in the Midwest that lasted from 8000 to 1000 B.C.

The Indiana Department of Transportation notified Flinn and her husband, Greg, last year that the so-called nutting stone had been found in 2006 but that the department had erroneously returned it to abutting property owners. INDOT wrote the neighbors asking them to return the stone, but Georgia Flinn says she and her husband still don’t have it.

“We want it back,” she told The Herald-Times.

William Boyd, on whose property INDOT says the stone was placed, would not discuss the status of the stone and referred questions to attorney Rudy Savich, who did not return calls seeking comment.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the department was reviewing its options to recover the stone.

“It looks as if the only way this will be resolved is through some kind of legal action,” he said.

Flinn, who will lose 11 acres from her 57-acre farm – including a stocked pond and a spring that supplies water – to the I-69 expansion, said she’s prepared to go to court if necessary.

“It amazes me they can acquire my land but I cannot acquire my nutting stone,” she said.

“I just want back what is mine.”