Vandals Carve Initials in 1K-Year-Old Rock Art

Bureau of Land Management is on the case
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
Vandals Carve Initials in 1K-Year-Old Rock Art
The 'Pregnant Buffalo' rock art is shown with a previous vandal's mark from 1867.   (Wikimedia Commons)

It's called one of Utah's most prominent pieces of rock art. But as visitors made their way past the "Pregnant Buffalo" petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon on Memorial Day weekend, vandals decided to make their mark by carving initials and the date into the prehistoric piece, the Deseret News reports—and archaeologists are peeved. "It is not acceptable," says Jerry Spangler, who inspected the rock art panel, whose images are believed to be from between 900 AD and 1250 AD, minutes before it was defaced with "JMN" and "5/25/14." "The damage done can never be completely repaired."

"These are treasures of the past that belong to all of us," Spangler says. The Bureau of Land Management is now investigating and may already have a suspect: The AP reports an individual confessed to a local property owner. Spangler says officials already had a solid lead in the case as two local land owners witnessed a pair rushing away from the scene soon after the vandalism was committed, and got a license plate number. "We will be encouraging the BLM to investigate and prosecute this matter to the fullest extent possible under existing laws," Spangler adds. The vandals better hope the site isn't cursed like this Utah park. (Read more prehistoric stories.)

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