petroglyph theft eastside


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 18, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
first i've heard of this-- maybe i missed an earlier thread.

sounds like someone did a massive saw-and-haul theft of petrolyphs from the tablelands there above bishop.,0,6886011.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmostviewed+%28L.A.+Times+-+Most+Viewed+Stories%29


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 18, 2012 - 10:42pm PT

I hope they catch those bums.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Nov 18, 2012 - 10:47pm PT
Here's the LA Times report.

Hope they catch and send to prison the as#@&%es that did this.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times

November 19, 2012
BISHOP, Calif. Ancient hunters and gatherers etched vivid petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes for more than 3,500 years. Thieves needed only a few hours to cut them down and haul them away.

Federal authorities say at least four petroglyphs have been taken from the site. A fifth was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides. A sixth had been removed and broken during the theft, then propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot.

Dozens of other petroglyphs were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts.

"The individuals who did this were not surgeons, they were smashing and grabbing," U.S. Bureau of Land Management archaeologist Greg Haverstock said last week as he examined the damage. "This was the worst act of vandalism ever seen" on the 750,000 acres of public land managed by the BLM field office in Bishop.

The theft required extraordinary effort: Ladders, electric generators and power saws had to be driven into the remote and arid high desert site near Bishop. Thieves gouged holes in the rock and sheared off slabs that were up to 15 feet above ground and 2 feet high and wide.

Visitors discovered the theft and reported it to the BLM on Oct. 31. BLM field office manager Bernadette Lovato delivered the bad news to Paiute-Shoshone tribal leaders in Bishop.

"It was the toughest telephone call I ever had to make," Lovato said. "Their culture and spiritual beliefs had been horribly violated. We will do everything in our power to bring those pieces back."

The region is known as Volcanic Tableland. It is held sacred by Native Americans whose ancestors adorned hundreds of lava boulders with spiritual renderings: concentric circles, deer, rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep, and hunters with bows and arrows.

For generations, Paiute-Shoshone tribal members and whites have lived side by side but not together in Bishop. But desecration of the site, which Native Americans still use in spiritual ceremonies, has forced reservation officials and U.S. authorities to come together and ask a tough question: Can further vandalism be prevented?

"How do we manage fragile resources that have survived as much as 10,000 years but can be destroyed in an instant?" asked archaeologist David Whitley, who in 2000 wrote the nomination that succeeded in getting the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. "Do we keep them secret in hopes that no one vandalizes them? Or, do we open them to the public so that visitors can serve as stewards of the resources?"

The easy answer is to police the site and others listed under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. But that's not possible given the condition of cash-strapped federal lands agencies, authorities said.

Authorities said the petroglyphs aren't worth a great deal on the illicit market, probably $500 to $1,500 each. But they are priceless to Native Americans, who regard the massive tableaux as a window into the souls of their ancestors.

The site is one of dozens of such locations managed by the BLM office in Bishop. A small army of volunteers has stepped up surveillance of the area.

For archaeologists, the images carved into a half-mile-long volcanic escarpment depict the culture and spiritual notions of the ancient tribes that once populated the sage flats and river valleys of the Eastern Sierra.

Paiute tribal historic preservation officer Raymond Andrews observed sacred law by quietly chanting a traditional prayer when he approached the site earlier this month.

Standing beneath a panel of geometric renderings believed to have been carved by shamans, Andrews took a slow, deep breath and said, "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."

Federal authorities and Native American leaders plan to mark each defaced petroglyph with a small sign pointing out that, as archaeologist Haverstock put it, "this damage was done by malicious, selfish individuals."

The BLM is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. Damaging or removing the petroglyphs is a felony. First-time offenders can be imprisoned for up to one year and fined as much as $20,000, authorities said. Second-time offenders can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned up to five years.

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Nov 18, 2012 - 10:52pm PT
This is awful. Low life scum. Sure hope they get them back and catch these f*#kers.

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 18, 2012 - 10:56pm PT
Find em & lynch em!!

edit: Just plain horrible, extremely selfish and downright lame! Humanity/human nature at it's worst (or close to it), imo!

Social climber
Nov 18, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
In my perfect world, an afterlife awaits thieves of antiquities in which they experience something akin to Sisyphus.

I can't imagine an individual who lacks a conscience so much as to destroy something so distinct that has existed for a great duration of time & clearly has deep meaning for some. Particularly if done in the name of making a few bucks.

I don't know this area but these thieves went to great lengths to remove the artifacts and deface the others. Could there have been witnesses to this crime? I would hope so.........
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:20am PT
The BLM is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.

I don't know much about rewards in these situations, but $1,000 seems far too little. It's clear that the stolen things were worth much more to those who took them, or whoever was paying them, given the effort that they put into it.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:29am PT
You beat me to it, Mighty. The BLM is gonna waste far more than that in
bureaucratic hand-wringing and pseudo-self-flagellation. How bout they lay
some desk jockey off and put his salary towards the reward?

Social climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:33am PT
Monetary fines are not enough. Graphic torture description omitted.

Suffice it to say slow death while witnessing desert canids consume the perps' entrails would be nearly enough punishment for this assault on our cultural treasures.
Captain...or Skully

Nov 19, 2012 - 01:14am PT

Boulder climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 02:24am PT
The BLM is offering a $1,000 reward ...
Chump change as they say. The perps already had a buyer.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Nov 19, 2012 - 02:33am PT
Wonder if there's another story beneath the primary text: for example, is the motive behind the desecration perhaps personal revenge or even something intra-tribal? Otherwise, all you can say is that it looks like the work of knuckle heads. I remember that the commander of the US South Atlantic fleet once told me to never underestimate the power exerted by stupidity in the affairs of men. Won't really find out though until these idiots are caught, the sooner the better. Better pony up a bigger reward than a crumby grand too. Who's going to snitch for that?

some eastside hovel
Nov 19, 2012 - 03:11am PT
This is so weak I'm kinda speachless.I'd been outta town and just heard about this.Didn't get the whole story 'til just now though.Wow!Awesome spot too.So killer to sit at those glyphs(and think)at sun up then do a little circuit.The history,the aura,the location---trashed!!I'm furious and sad.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 19, 2012 - 10:55am PT
Maybe the BLM did it themselves? It would be a good way to start the ball rolling on the closure of the Tablelands so their lazy asses don't have to patrol it anymore.

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:04am PT
Russ, I was thinking the same thing myself but hate to believe the govt. would do something like that to close an area. I know many of the areas I "used" to go exploring are now closed for good, as I drive the Inyos and Whites there are more and more trails and spur roads that have been closed off. Little by little.

Whoever did this wether govt. or private deserves to be hung up by the balls covered in honey over and ant hill.

Nov 19, 2012 - 11:14am PT
Must be Obamas fault Ron. Where can I pick up one of those black market manhole covers? lol

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:17am PT
That sucks. I hope the thieves are superstitious.

Nov 19, 2012 - 11:20am PT
I don't think the type of people who do this sh#t do it because they are hurting. It seems a little different than stuffing a pound of ground round down your pants at the local supermarket.

Ron, I thought they were one size fits all.

Nov 19, 2012 - 11:32am PT
No, I wouldn't I would be suprised if this was a person that resorted to this because they couldn't find a job.
The Alpine

Nov 19, 2012 - 11:41am PT
Definitely not good for future access...

Save us from ourselves Mr Government!
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