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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:51 PM

Petroglyph thefts near Bishop stun federal authorities, Paiutes, "worse act of vadalism ever seen"

Petroglyph thefts near Bishop stun federal authorities, Paiutes
At least four ancient petroglyphs were cut from cliffs at the Volcanic Tableland and dozens of others damaged in 'the worst act of vandalism ever seen' on federal lands in the area.

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."


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-petroglyphs-theft-20121119,0,6886011.story

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Reply Petroglyph thefts near Bishop stun federal authorities, Paiutes, "worse act of vadalism ever seen" (Original post)
Liberal_in_LA Nov 2012 OP
lalalu Nov 2012 #1
roguevalley Nov 2012 #35
bluedigger Nov 2012 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #3
Viva_La_Revolution Nov 2012 #4
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #14
bluedigger Nov 2012 #6
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #15
Viva_La_Revolution Nov 2012 #20
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #24
Viva_La_Revolution Nov 2012 #25
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #28
Viva_La_Revolution Nov 2012 #29
CountAllVotes Nov 2012 #5
bluedigger Nov 2012 #11
CountAllVotes Nov 2012 #17
byeya Nov 2012 #31
byeya Nov 2012 #7
Zorra Nov 2012 #8
CountAllVotes Nov 2012 #10
byeya Nov 2012 #13
CountAllVotes Nov 2012 #21
byeya Nov 2012 #23
byeya Nov 2012 #12
freshwest Nov 2012 #18
Octafish Nov 2012 #9
CountAllVotes Nov 2012 #19
Baitball Blogger Nov 2012 #16
BlueMan Votes Nov 2012 #22
xchrom Nov 2012 #26
Ian David Nov 2012 #27
Liberal_in_LA Nov 2012 #30
catchnrelease Nov 2012 #32
MineralMan Nov 2012 #33
byeya Nov 2012 #34
DonRedwood Nov 2012 #36
Whovian Nov 2012 #37

Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:54 PM

1. When they find these people

 

they should be given long sentences. I suggest 3,500 years.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:11 PM

35. agreed lalalu brilliant comment

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:57 PM

2. I'm speechless.

Not really, but I'll just turn the air blue here at home and leave it off the web.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:05 PM

3. What's the BLM's response? A mere $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:12 PM

4. they shouldn't have to offer any reward

how much of their tax-funded, limited budget do you think they should offer?

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:38 PM

14. You must be right.

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:14 PM

6. The BLM is not the bad guy here.

They are very aggressive in pursuing those who desecrate our public lands.

http://www.cortezjournal.com/article/20121020/NEWS01/710209942/0/SEARCH/Grave-diggers--get-jail-time

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:40 PM

15. "Very aggressive" -- From your link:

 

"Two Southwest Colorado residents received short jail sentences Thursday for disturbing a burial site while hiking with a seniors’ group last year in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument."


It's good to see that they're so aggressive. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:57 PM

20. ages 76 and 81. here are details

Howard H. Drake, 76, of Silverton, was sentenced to 10 days in jail for picking up a human skull and showing it to a group of hikers.

Harry Hance, 81, of Montezuma County, was sentenced to three days in jail for helping organize the hikes.

http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20121018/NEWS01/121019503/2-get-jail-term-for-artifacts-offense--

How many years you wanna send Grandpa away for?

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #20)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:40 PM

24. You must be right. Drake (a lifelong teacher) and Hance (with a long career as a scientist) must,

 

like Dick Cheney, be grandpas.

Since you are the one who said at #4 that the BLM shouldn't even offer rewards to uncover the identities of those involved in the theft of the Petroglyphs near Bishop, you must be right about that as well.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #24)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:49 PM

25. I said "they shouldn't have to"

not that they shouldn't.

keep trying to avoid answering tho.
questions - 2
answers - 0
snide passive aggressive remarks - 2

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Response to Viva_La_Revolution (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:03 PM

28. Actually, you said at #4:

 

"they shouldn't have to offer any reward" and then showed your disapproval by saying (to paraphrase your words, your "snide passive aggressive remark"):

"how much of their tax-funded, limited budget do you think they should offer?"

It also seems in your world that Drake and Hance, who were caught for the first time in their careers or part-time work by an undercover agent, should have been given more of a pass. (#20)

Here's a clue for you. If you don't make snide remarks, you reduce your chances of getting such remarks or sarcasm in return.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #28)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:31 PM

29. correct. that's why I snarked back at your BLM comment. nt

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:13 PM

5. Historic preservation laws

Where are these laws now when they are needed the most? Has funding for them been "cut" as well?

This is very tragic, for the meaning and value of these petroglyphs goes far beyond anything that one may suspect as they are the works of humans that lived as many as thousands of years ago.

I wonder why such valuable aspects of this area were not under protection and surveillance day and night? Were they ever recorded? If they were and they find out who did this, there may be some restitution but probably not a lot given what restitution via the standing laws may provide. As for finding out who did this, well that is a whole other thing within itself. Probably some idiot with nothing better to do than lash out in this crime, a hate crime IMO.

Is it not ironic that there is plenty of money out there for surveillance in shopping malls and other such places that I guess are deemed far more important than an ancient archaeological site?

This angers me greatly as I know how valuable these petroglyphs are and why they were just out there waiting for a vandal to strike is plain reprehensible and disgusting!

This is the reason that many petroglphys go unrecorded -- it may be a better option than recording them and thus making them known for the next vandal out there.

My condolences to the Paiute people.

May the petroglyphs that were vandalized/ruined RIP.

& recommend.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:32 PM

11. There is just too much competition for limited resources.

There are too many remote sites to actively monitor with the resources available. They do what they can (see the link in my post #6 above). The Canyons of the Ancients area near me has over 6,000 documented sites in 164,000 acres of wilderness! Of the half dozen or so trips I've made out there, I've encountered exactly one BLM employee, at a parking lot, collecting visitor survey data. Generally speaking, it is difficult for a layperson to get specific site location information from government agencies, but well known, easy accessible sites are always at risk.

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:49 PM

17. While I agree w/you ...

I must state that is some cases there is no support for these ancient archaeological sites.

It was not long after the Historic Preservation Act was put into place that I traveled to a place where petroglphys are know to exist en mass. They are located on Federal lands and I was to volunteer to record this region.

The people that worked there were a bunch of guys that were your typical good old boy rednecks that could have cared less about such places nor the people that created them (Native Americans).

I was shocked to hear them whisper, "Word is that there is a big fire that is out of control not too far away from here!". Everyone was happy to hear about this because they'd get overtime pay for needing to work extra hours.

As for the petroglyphs, they could have all burned up for all these people cared!

I left this "job" as a volunteer because it was apparent to me rather quickly that the people around this place were in my own words at the time, "Either brain dead or spiritual zombies."

In any event, this is just plain sad as another piece of our history in the USA is gone, gone with the wind and the evil hands of people that are either bigoted idiots or plain brain dead spiritual zombies, the only people that can live in such intense places!

As for the BLM, I have many thoughts about them, and most of them are not positive ones given their checkered past and utter failure to enforce laws and regulations even when they know exactly who is doing what!

The BIA is no different IMO and often these two agencies work hand in hand ... mouth to mouth I dare add!



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Response to bluedigger (Reply #11)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:50 PM

31. #11: The National Park Service is very top heavy with highly paid people who staff

 

Washington and Regional Offices as well as the larger parks having large non-law enforcement staffs.
These agencies need to get their priorities straight and put their limited resources into more law enforcement rangers and do away with "Assosicate" this and "Assistant" that in the offices.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:16 PM

7. Most of it is not vandalism, it's profit based theft of our national heritage and is an ongoing

 

problem on our public lands: Bureau of Land Management; National Park Service; and US Forest Service primarily.
Law enforcement at these agencies has been cut back even further in recent years. Several years ago, the Inspector General of the Dept of Interior, in testifying before the Senate about his findings in a year long audit of the National Park Service, had 25 recommendations for the NPS, only one of which was for immediate implementation. That was the hiring of 600 more law enforcement park rangers for the protection of the rangers themselves. There are fewer LE rangers now then when Mr Deveney testified. In some large western parks, rangers don't patrol the vast backcountry because they are needed in the developed areas where the majority of visitors are. This opens up unsecured territory for theft of lizards, turtles, cacti, pre-Columbian artifacts, etc, and no one knows that we've been robbed.
The situation in the BLM is worse: many more square miles of territory to cover for each officer and, like the National Park Service, no real commitment from management on aggressive law enforcement.

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Response to byeya (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:22 PM

8. ^Yes!^^This^. Another casualty of austerity, and privatization as well.

Thank you!

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Response to Zorra (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:30 PM

10. Sadly ...

There were no real laws protecting such places until 1992 when existing laws pertaining to the Historic Preservation Act was beefed up and made to have a few extra teeth (very few).

Since this time it seems to me that little if anything has been done to protect such places as other things are deemed more important I suspect.

Here's to austerity!

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:37 PM

13. I'll disagree to this extent: In the National Parks, laws were in place since the 19th century

 

to protect natural and cultural objects but, as you point out, not in BLM adminsistered land and not, for the most part, in US Forest Service land.

Stealing cultural artifacts, and these include Revolutionary and Civil War relics, robs the nation as a whole while taking objects that are probably worthy of future scientific research.

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Response to byeya (Reply #13)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:59 PM

21. That is where these places are located

Forest Service lands, BLM lands ... Federal lands = lands that belong to the Indian people supposedly.

Now we see the bigoted reality as it still continues on today.

Ref: The Historic Preservation laws in 1992; beefed up laws to protect Native Americans graves and antiquities.

You could easily buy items like the above named things on ebay.com until I guess they got sued by someone/some place.

The greed never stops as there is a huge black market for anything "Indian". Add the word "grave" to it well then you might really have something there! again ...

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #21)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:09 PM

23. A significant % of BLM land - maybe a majority - is leased to ranchers mainly

 

for the pasturage of livestock. BLM Rangers usually have to enforce state laws because the agency usually has proprietary jurisdiction. The 1992 law was a big help in most respects. Although the land itself is for all Americans, the artifacts and human remains are those of American Indians unless proven otherwise.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:33 PM

12. BLM and NPS rangers are forced to work alone for the most part often in areas

 

where their radios to not function due to the lack of repeaters to cover that area and the rugged terrain itself.
As a sidelight, the NPS law enforcement rangers are the federal officers who are most likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault. The Dept of Justice Bureau of Criminal Statistics studied the federal sector for five years and issued a report: for the NPS it's 15.1 per 1000 officers; the next worst - Customs - was 5.0 per 1000. To contrast both the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency were at 1.2 per 1000.

Knowing that when an officer calls for help, the help is hours away emboldens those who want to take the chance of attacking the ranger. They probably would not if help were minutes away as it is in metropolitan PDs.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:52 PM

18. +1,000

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:25 PM

9. The intentional destruction of a culture is closer to murder than vandalism.

May those responsible learn a lesson from their greed and hatred.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:52 PM

19. Exactly and then some ...

It is a form of genocide plain and simple. That really says it all in one word ... GENOCIDE

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:42 PM

16. OMIGOD They're going to line them up and match them up to the Centurion constellation

and bring on the End of Time!

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:01 PM

22. maybe someone felt that the petroglyphs would really compliment the Iraqi National Museum pieces...

 

in their home collection.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:54 PM

26. ...

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 02:58 PM

27. Remember the movie "2012" when they secretly started putting works of art on the arks? n/t

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Response to Ian David (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:40 PM

30. December 21st, end of the world preparations?

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:28 PM

32. This makes me so sick

I have been to this area and seen/photographed these petroglyphs several times over the years. They are in a remote place, not where you would just stumble upon them by accident. The road to where they are is a dirt and gravel washboard kind of mess, FAR away from any civilization. I don't know how they could be protected really. Even if there were some kind of solar powered cameras or alarms, a vandal could just destroy them and it would be probably close to an hour before law enforcement could get there. Of all the times I've been up there, only once did I see any other people. And even if they closed off the dirt roads that lead to these sites, all it would take is an off-road vehicle to get someone determined into there.

At one of the sites, there is/was a chain link fence, probably 10-12 ft high around a huge boulder that had petroglyphs on it. Even with that, some moron felt the need to climb in and spray paint a phallus on it. When I saw that I thought, 'Well there's civilized man's contribution to history.'

I doubt they will catch the a-holes, but I hope I'm wrong. And the reward is a joke. I know the BLM is short on manpower and resources, but I wish they could get enough money to really make a reward enticing enough to rat out the thieves.



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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:49 PM

33. Ick! It's so hard to preserve those on

public lands. Accessibility is just too easy, and people know they're there.

There is a set of Chumash petroglyphs in San Luis Obispo County, CA. They're on private land, and their exact location is kept secret, just to prevent this kind of crap. Access is almost impossible and that's planned to stay that way. I had an opportunity to see them many years ago, and they are still pristine. I hope their exact location does not become known, and that the property owners continue to keep trespassers off their property.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 05:13 PM

34. That's the way to do it: Keep their whereabouts unknown. I believe that some of the famous cave

 

paintings in France have been sealed.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:13 PM

36. rich people need their art....

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:18 PM

37. SOB's. The petroglyphs are probably hanging on a wealthy

 

collector's wall courtesy of the thieves he hired for the job.

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