Prehistoric Rock Artwork ‘Irreparably Broken’ by Vandals, Officers Say

Summary geometric designs at Massive Bend Nationwide Park in Texas that had survived for hundreds of years have been “irreparably broken” by vandals who scratched names and dates into the prehistoric designs, the Nationwide Park Service mentioned.

The Park Service mentioned on its web site that the traditional rock artwork was broken on Dec. 26 within the Indian Head space of the park, which encompasses greater than 800,000 acres in southwest Texas and stretches alongside 118 miles of the USA border with Mexico.

Since 2015, archaeologists on the park have documented greater than 50 cases of vandalism, the Park Service mentioned.

Damaging park assets is in opposition to federal legislation and defacing rock artwork and historical cultural websites violates the Archaeological Assets Safety Act, which goals to guard archaeological assets and websites on federal and Native American lands.

Tom Alex, an archaeologist who retired from the park in 2014 after working there for 32 years, mentioned that the broken summary designs have been referred to as petroglyphs and that that they had been pecked into the rock panel.

“There’s wavy traces, curvilinear traces, geometric patterns, squiggles and issues that simply form of meander throughout the rock floor,” Mr. Alex mentioned on Saturday.

Mr. Alex mentioned it was tough to find out exactly how outdated the artwork was, however, primarily based on the weathering, the petroglyphs have been most certainly made someplace between 3,000 and eight,000 years in the past. He mentioned all these designs represented a few of the oldest rock artwork in North America. Within the more moderen time interval, rock artwork included extra representations of individuals and animals.

The summary pecked artwork is frequent throughout the southwestern United States. It isn’t but potential to find out what group of native individuals have been answerable for the designs at Massive Bend, Mr. Alex mentioned.

It was additionally not recognized who broken the rock artwork, although the particular person, or individuals, accountable left some clues. 4 names have been scrawled on the artwork: Adrian, Ariel, Isaac and Norma, in response to images shared by the Park Service. The 12 months 2021 and the date “12-26-21” have been additionally scratched on the rock.

Tom VandenBerg, the chief of interpretation and customer providers at Massive Bend, informed Texas Month-to-month that the park had acquired “fairly robust potential leads” about who was answerable for the vandalism. Mr. VandenBerg added that the park prevented offering maps and instructions to the carvings to forestall harm to the traditional website.

Bob Krumenaker, the superintendent of Massive Bend, condemned the vandalism in a submit on the park’s web site. “Damaging pure options and rock artwork destroys the very magnificence and historical past that the American individuals need to shield in our parks,” he mentioned.

Park employees members tried to restore the harm, however a lot of it was everlasting, the submit mentioned.

Mr. Alex mentioned a few of the scratches on the panel have been superficial and potential to scrub up so they’d be much less apparent, however others had penetrated the prehistoric designs. “These scratches are going to be there endlessly,” he mentioned.

Stewards of public lands have complained about a rise in vandalism and graffiti lately.

In December 2020, Zion Nationwide Park in Utah mentioned that almost daily, employees members there discovered “phrases and shapes carved, drawn, painted (with mud, grime, pigment, paint) or scratched on rocks.”

In January 2019, a number of of the signature spiky-leafed Joshua bushes at Joshua Tree Nationwide Park in Southern California have been broken throughout a authorities shutdown.

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