Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Crime against culture

 
 
"There’s a special place in hell for the people responsible for this," denounces the Sierra Journal, referring to the vandalism of petroglyphs at the Volcano Tablelands near Bishop, California. At least 4 of the ancient stone carvings have been removed from the site, a 5th was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides, a 6th was broken during the theft and left propped up against a boulder, and dozens of others were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts. Greg Haverstock, archaeologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management which manages 750,000 acres, says, “The individuals who did this were not surgeons, they were smashing and grabbing,” and called it the worst act of vandalism he had ever seen. They left scars along a 650-foot cliff band and extracted petroglyph panels as large as 20" x 40" x 6" and as much as 15' off the ground. To carry out this vile crime, which robs all of us of culture and the members of the Native American Paiute people (that is tribal historic preservation officer Raymond Andrews of the Bishop Paiute Tribe in the 3rd image) of a sacred link with their past, the thieves drove into the remote site equipped with ladders, electric generators, and power saws. It took them only a few hours to cut down and haul away the artifacts which stood for more than 3,500 years, and they will likely get only $500-$1,500 each for petroglyphs that are priceless when they remain in place. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the felons, who will receive up to a year in prison and a fine of as much as $20,000 for a first offense or a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of as much as $100,000 for a second offense. I hope they are caught and given the maximum punishment. As ArtInfo puts it, "The missing petroglyphs have left gaping holes in history."
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Hall of shame:

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