Native American art

Vandals Destroy Petroglyph Panels; Reward Offered for Information

Wednesday, November 28 2012 07:45   Preservation
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Reward money is being offered to help find the vandals who damaged or destroyed irreplaceable Native American petroglyph panels at a major rock art site on the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop, California.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office and the Bishop Paiute Tribe are offering $2,000 in reward money, $1,000 each, for information leading to the arrest/conviction of the responsible individuals.

img_9006The damage was discovered in early November 2012. Perpetrators removed or damaged rock art at five locations within the site.

"The panels that were taken are irreplaceable," said Bernadette Lovato, BLM Bishop Field Office manager. "Our top priority is to recover them intact."

Greg Haverstock, Bishop Field Office archaeologist, said the damaged site is a pristine example of Great Basin rock art and hunter-gatherer domestic, religious and subsistence activities.

"The location of archaeological materials, feature remains, and the rock art clearly portray the activities that occurred at the site during the past 3,500 years," he said.

This site is one of the most significant rock art sites in the region and is still used by the local Paiute for ceremony.

The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association is asking the public to help, and is accepting donations following destruction of the petroglyph panels.

Donations can be mailed to the association at 190 E. Yaney St., Bishop, CA 93514. Those interested in donating also can call the association at (760) 873-2411 during normal business hours.

Donors should specify where they want to money to be used, the agency said, for any of the following purposes:


The site is protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This site is one of the most significant rock art sites in the region and is still used by the local Paiute for ceremony.

ARPA violations can be prosecuted as felonies and first-time offenders can be fined up to $20,000 and imprisoned for up to one year. Second time felony offenders can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for up to five years.

In addition, Section 7 of ARPA enables federal or Indian authorities to prosecute violators using civil fines, either in conjunction with or independent of any criminal prosecution. Section 8 (b) of the statute allows the court or civil authority to use forfeiture of vehicles and equipment used in the violation of the statute as another means of punishment against convicted violators.

Anyone with information can contact Melody Stehwien at (760) 937-0301, or Eric Keefer at (760) 937-0657, both in the BLM Bishop Field Office.

"The individuals who did this have destroyed an irreplaceable part of our national cultural heritage," said Lovato. "We have increased surveillance of our sites and are working with other agencies to bring the responsible parties to justice and to recover the petroglyphs."

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