Ancient Rock Art Stolen, Vandalized, Near Bishop CaliforniaBy Steve Casimiro on November 20th, 2012
At least four petroglyphs have been cut out of their rocks and taken from BLM land outside Bishop known as the Volcanic Tablelands. 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. BLM archaeologist Greg Haverstock called it “the worst act of vandalism ever seen” on the 750,000 acres of public land managed by the BLM field office in Bishop. The thieves weren’t on a random hunt: The theft required the use of ladders, electric generators, and power saws had to be driven into the remote and arid high desert site east of the Sierra and south of Mammoth. Thieves gouged holes in the rock and sheared off slabs that were up to 15 feet above ground and two feet high and wide. The land and the art is considered sacred by the Paiute-Shoshone tribe and is on the National Register of Historic Places. That apparently means little; federal officials admit they don’t have the resources to patrol these sacred sites and prevent future thefts. And even the amount offered by the BLM in reward — $1,000 — may not be enough to bring suspects forward. If they are caught, however, they could go to prison for five years. Via L.A. Times.
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