3,500 Year-Old Historical Monument Destroyed by Morons

Picture: Jproy2101 (CC)

“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children” – Native American proverb

Petroglyphs look not unlike the hieroglyphs you see carved onto the walls of pyramids. They’re used to pass on the spiritual teachings of Native Americans from generation to generation. There are some etched on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that have been there for more than three and a half thousand years. The region is known as Volcanic Tableland and it is held sacred by the Paiute-Shoshone tribe. According to The LA Times a gang of thieves have now, in a matter of hours, cut at least four of the sacred monuments down and successfully stolen them away. Apparently two others were seriously damaged and dozens more scarred with clumsy hammer blows and saw cuts. These monuments are some of the oldest treasures in the United States:

“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 article goes on to state that the sites which have been destroyed were being used right up to the present day. It’s a genuinely shocking story.

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here: http://thecultofnick.libsyn.com/

13 Comments on "3,500 Year-Old Historical Monument Destroyed by Morons"

  1. Sounds like perps already had a market, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble, risk, expense. Wealthy collectors come to mind.

    • CapnCanard | Nov 27, 2012 at 10:20 am |

      “wealthy collectors” yeah, that makes it seem like a very small group of potential crooks and it should be easy to find who is the most likely criminal, but I doubt that there will be much of a rush to capture the scum. Wealth has it’s benefits.

      • If the wealthy collector keeps it in a vault and doesn’t loan it to museums for exhibition, who else will find out?

  2. Material comes and goes, take a picture. For all we know the perps could be interstellar aliens taking a souvenir.

  3. Assholes. Too bad it doesn’t surprise me.

  4. edgar heap of turds | Nov 25, 2012 at 2:20 am |

    “Native American proverb” lulz… way to homogenize native peoples. and of course the Paiute-Shoshone are described as a “tribe” and not a people. I’d like to think this is just a case of meaning well while being obviously pretty ignorant of the subject

    • It is ignorance. I’m from the UK. I’m aware these are sensitive issues so wasn’t quite sure how to attribute that quote. It reminded me of some those unattributable aphorisms you get up North in England. Everyone says it but no one knows who started it. What should I have written instead, in your opinion? As for “tribe” – why is it a loaded word? — again coming from place of ignorance here. Doesn’t a “tribe” imply a people?

      On a personal level I’m still shocked by this crime. It should be bigger news I think. If some people broke stonehenge up and ran off with it we’d have the fucking army out looking for them! You guys would probably send some tanks over to help. Where’s the difference?

      • Kevin Leonard | Nov 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

        There is nothing wrong with your language choices.

        • Thanks!

          As someone from the UK I’m aware of my ignorance but found the internet inconclusive on the two issues raised. On another note I’m currently trying to work out if wolves actually eat people or if it’s a myth. It’s for a different article.. no doubt that will cause a minor ruckus if it gets finished.

          • Kevin Leonard | Nov 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

            I think it is actually quite conclusive. The Paiute-Shoshone call themselves a tribe on their own website http://www.fpst.org/ and the quote is apparently not directly attributable to anyone. “Proverb” is an entirely proper word. Even if it were attributable, the quote has come into such popular usage that “proverb” still applies.

            I am reminded of the woman who, apparently due to fear of being politically incorrect, couldn’t bring herself to refer the hairstylist on the cruise ship as a black woman, calling her, instead, “African American” despite the fact that the stylist was not from America.

            Except, of course, “heap of turds” feels compelled to deride you… ignorantly, I might add.

      • Matt Staggs | Nov 26, 2012 at 10:07 am |

        I would disregard Edgar’s comments. They call themselves a tribe, but I guess that’s no reason for the average uptight white person not to get upset.

  5. Tchoutoye | Nov 25, 2012 at 4:46 am |

    As shameful as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas.

  6. Should be a death penalty for such acts!

Comments are closed.