Chigado Petroglyphs are located in the 36,000-acre Fish Slough Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and is a place where geographic isolation, geology, climate, and hydrology have created a rare and irreplaceable ecosystem.
Petroglyphs, rock engravings left by ancient Native American people, stood along the California cliffs for up to 5,000 years. Yet it only took a concrete saw and pliers for thieves to steal the ancient rock writings last month, leaving the surrounding community stunned. The thieves did damage to six different petroglyphs, removing five and damaging one that was left behind. The carvings stood along cliffs of the Eastern Sierra Volcanic Tableland near the California-Nevada border, approximately 15 miles north of Bishop, Calif. They are what the local community calls “rock writings,” also referred to as rock art. The ancient petroglyphs were reported stolen on Oct. 31. Local authorities describe this crime as the worst act of vandalism they have seen in the 750,000 acres under their watch.
As a result, authorities have ramped up security in the region and the BLM is now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrests. Under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act, those convicted with theft and vandalism could face a $20,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment.
Check out the story here: Ancient Petroglyphs Stolen Along California Cliffs; Local Native Americans Stunned.
There is an up date to this story.
Four ancient petroglyphs that were stolen from a historic site in Northern California last year have been recovered, but no suspects have been identified in the brazen theft, federal authorities said on Thursday.
- Science news from NBCNews.com
- The petroglyphs, which were carved into volcanic rock more than 3,500 years ago, were discovered missing in October from the site in the Volcanic Tablelands, east of Yosemite, near California’s border with Nevada.
They are said to represent a pristine example of Great Basin rock art that portrayed the daily hunter-gatherer activities that took place in the area at the time.
“Recovery of the petroglyphs was a priority from day one. I am pleased that they were returned,” Bernadette Lovato, manager for the bureau’s field office in Bishop, California, said in a statement.
“Now we need the public’s help to identify the vandals responsible for damaging the site,” Lovato said.
A Bureau of Land Management spokesman declined to release further details about the recovery of the petroglyphs, citing an ongoing investigation. The bureau said the suspects may have experience with masonry cutting and access to such tools.
The Volcanic Tablelands are described by the Bureau of Land Management as a vast volcanic landscape formed more than 700,000 years ago by materials spewing from the Long Valley caldera.
The high-desert site and its volcanic rock outcroppings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and used by local Paiute Indians for ceremonies.
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