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article imageVandals cut art from sacred American Indian site in Sierra Nevada

By Anne Sewell     Nov 21, 2012 in World
Bishop - Using power saws, vandals have cut out ancient rock carvings made up to 5,000 years ago by Native Americans in California's Sierra Nevada. What they couldn't steal they damaged badly. A reward is being offered to anyone who can help find the culprits.
The vandals removed four rock carvings, made between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago from the volcanic cliffs near Bishop. They also badly damaged several more petroglyphs in the process, according to the Los Angeles Times.
One, in the image to the left, was marred with deep saw cuts, and another was broken after being removed and was dumped near the visitor parking lot.
Paiute tribal historic preservation officer, Raymond Andrews, told reporters, “When we went out there and looked at it, it hit my heart more than it did anything else. These are old and its part of our culture.”
The thieves are not likely to make much from their daring theft as, according to local authorities, the petroglyphs would probably be worth between about $500 and $1,500.
However the damage to the historic heritage of Native Americans can never be restored.
Andrews continued, "We still use this sacred place as a kind of church to educate tribal members and children about our historical and spiritual connections. So, our tribal elders are appalled by what happened here."
Grey Haverstock, an archaeologist with the Bishop field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) told ABC News, “It’s a very important spiritual and ceremonial artefact in history… It has a very religious value and it’s irreplaceable.”
BLM is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the criminals.
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