27 November 2012

Petroglyph vandalism by human scum

From a report in the Los Angeles Times:
BISHOP, Calif. — Ancient hunters and gatherers etched vivid petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes for more than 3,500 years. Thieves needed only a few hours to cut them down and haul them away.

Federal authorities say at least four petroglyphs have been taken from the site. A fifth was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides. A sixth had been removed and broken during the theft, then propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot.  Dozens of other petroglyphs were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts.
"The individuals who did this were not surgeons, they were smashing and grabbing," U.S. Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Greg Haverstock said last week as he examined the damage. "This was the worst act of vandalism ever seen" on the 750,000 acres of public land managed by the BLM field office in Bishop.

The theft required extraordinary effort: Ladders, electric generators and power saws had to be driven into the remote and arid high desert site near Bishop. Thieves gouged holes in the rock and sheared off slabs that were up to 15 feet above ground and 2 feet high and wide...

For generations, Paiute-Shoshone tribal members and whites have lived side by side but not together in Bishop. But desecration of the site, which Native Americans still use in spiritual ceremonies, has forced reservation officials and U.S. authorities to come together and ask a tough question: Can further vandalism be prevented?

The easy answer is to police the site and others listed under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. But that's not possible given the condition of cash-strapped federal lands agencies, authorities said.
Embedded photo credit AFP/Getty Images, via The Telegraph.


  1. Ugh... I feel sick. I've been to those sites many times over the years and I've always felt a resonance with the petroglyphs and the area in general. This is sad beyond belief. He's right, it's like bashing off a large chunk of the Wailing Wall. My day is officially ruined...

  2. Looks like the perpetrators used cutoff saws to do the removal. I suggest using the same to dismember them if they're ever caught.

  3. Replies
    1. And one of the Hopi quotes near the end of the movie is "If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."

    2. @Minnesotastan, I've never hear that quote so I will now never forget it...

  4. So who exactly is going to purchase a huge chunk of a petroglyph? Horrible, horrible, horrible. Have the vandals nothing else to do but steal precious artifacts? I agree with the person above, when they are caught use a saw on them as well.

  5. What about web cams monitored by volunteers?


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