Police spokesperson Kamie Michael said the head was found off Preston Andrews Road in northern Durham County.
She said it appears that it was taken as a prank when it disappeared earlier this week. All that remained was a steel beam inside that supported the long neck of the 77 foot long model.
Police have returned the head to the museum and are now working with administrators on what course of action they want to take. Michael did not identify the person or persons involved in the theft.