Ancient Paiute petroglyphs stolen from remote California cliffs

For over 3500 years, hunter-gatherer human ancestors etched petroglyphs on cliffs in California's Eastern Sierra. They "withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes," but were recently destroyed and/or stolen by thieves in just a few hours. (LA Times, thanks RJ)


  1. 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.

    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.

    That is just stupid in addition to being one of the most vile and dastardly things I have heard about all year. Truly sad that there are complete and total {strong enough word of disdain does not exist} that would do this. I really hope they catch these jerks they deserve to sit in jail for a good long time.

    1. Punishment is wasted on such non-sentient creatures. The primary concern should be ensuring that such toxic genes are isolated and prevented from reproducing.

  2. It’s bad enough that this is just one more way that Native Americans are constantly dumped on (especially this time of year) but this is also a crime against all citizens and our shared history of mankind.

    So I wonder if these thieves were thinking that some billionaire would want these to decorate his library, or if they thought they might sell them on the side of the road for drug money…. 

    Please don’t let them be Native Americans. I can already imagine the internet comments….

  3. The age of the art in question makes the Taliban’s destruction of those giant Buddhas look tame in comparison.

  4. From Al Purdy’s The Horseman of Agawa (Indian rock painting under the cliffs of Lake Superior)
    The painted horseman rides over four moons (or suns) on his trail
    whose meaning must be a four day journey somewhere
    the red iron oxide faded from Lake Superior storms
    and maybe two hundred years since the Ojibway artist stood there
    and drew with his finger on stone canvas
    with fish eggs or bear grease to make the painting permanent
    pitting fish eggs and bear grease against eternity
    which is kind of ludicrous or kind of beautiful I guess

    What a loss.

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