Boys Had Good Intentions, Ruin 5K-Year-Old Rock Art

It's 'a national tragedy' in Norway
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2016 12:27 PM CDT
Well-Meaning Boys Ruin 5K-Year-Old Rock Art
The rock art after it was retraced.   (Nordland County)

(Newser) – A 5,000-year-old rock carving of a figure on skis is among the most recognized symbols of Norway. Two kids, however, thought it could use some improving. In what's been described as "a national tragedy," the Norwegian boys are accused of using a sharp tool to retrace the image on the island of Tro—among the earliest evidence of skiing—to make it more obvious, per the Local and New York Daily News. The boys came forward and apologized after the vandalism was reported Friday, but could still face criminal charges, reports the Washington Post. "The new lines are both in and outside where the old marks had been," an archaeologist tells the Telegraph. "We will never again be able to experience these carvings again the way we have for the last 5,000 years."

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"It's a tragedy, because it's one of the most famous Norwegian historical sites" and "one of the most internationally known symbols of Norway," adds a local mayor. The image of the skier—which inspired the logo for the 1994 Lilliehammer Olympics—wasn't even the only one damaged. An image of a whale that's part of the same scene also was hit. However, "it was done out of good intentions," the mayor says. "They were trying to make it more visible actually, and I don't think they understood how serious it was. I think now they understand." The boys issued a public apology, but many on social media say they should still be punished. (Someone left their initials in this 1,000-year-old rock art.)

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