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Rock Art of Kentucky is the first comprehensive documentation of the fragile remnants of Kentucky’s prehistoric Native American rock art sites. Found in twenty-two of Kentucky’s counties, these sites pan a period of more than three thousand years. The most frequent design elements in Kentucky rock art are engravings of the footprints of birds, quadrupeds, and humans. Other design elements include anthropomorphs, mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and abstract and geometric figures. Included in the book are stunning illustrations of the sixty confirmed sites and ten destroyed or questionable sites.

In the thirty some years during which this information was collected, there has been an alarming deterioration of many of the sites. Ancient carvings have been destroyed by graffiti or have lost extensive detail because of climatic or environmental conditions, such as acid rain. Although all the Kentucky sites are officially listed on the National register of Historic Places, several no long exist or are at present inaccessible. In addition to making data available for the first time to the national and international archaeological community for further comparative and interpretive studies, Rock Art of Kentucky is also for nonspecialists interested in prehistoric Kentucky and Native American studies.

Fred E. Coy Jr. is a retired physician who lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Thomas C. Fuller has retired from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Larry G. Meadows is a local historian of the Red River region in Kentucky.

James F. Swauger is curator emeritus of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

"Rock art includes petroglyphs and pictographs, or designs carved in or painted on the faces of rocks, respectively. In their book, Coy et al, present the fruits of over three decades of research on rock art in the Commonwealth."—Bowling Green Daily News

"This excellent addition to the body of rock art literature is especially significant because it focuses on an area for the most part ignored in previous research. This book is an attempt to reach out to the general public, informing them of this cultural heritage while at the same time alerting them to the fragility of rock art and the importance of its preservation."—Choice

"The first comprehensive documentation of the fragile remnants of the state's prehistoric Native American rock art sites."—Louisville Courier Journal

"Would serve very well as a companion volume to books on the early history of Kentucky and as a guide to those who want to see for themselves."—Mountain Eagle

"This book is the first comprehensive register of the known rock art of the state of Kentucky. . . . It should serve as a model of how to present the results of comprehensive regional surveys in a format facilitating further research, and of how to present a record of truly permanent value."—Rock Art Research 1997

"Excellent . . . An extensive photographic guide to all known existent rock art in the state—this book is a first for Kentucky."—The Dirt Brothers

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Petroglyphs, Rock paintings, Native American art, Kentucky antiquities


History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology

Rock Art Of Kentucky
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