Vandalized Petroglyphs May Never Be Restored - 8 News NOW

Vandalized Petroglyphs May Never Be Restored

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RED ROCK CANYON, Nev. -- The vandalism that may have destroyed ancient artwork carved into the stones at Red Rock Canyon could cost thousands of dollars to repair, if experts can even do it.

The rock is in a remote area that was challenging hike to near Willow Springs and the Red Rock Loop Road. Experts say the pictographs that remained on the canyon walls for 1,000 years were destroyed in seconds by spray paint.

"It's not simply a question of using some kind of solvent and washing it off. It's like treating the Sistine Chapel. You might be able to remove the damage, the spray paint, but you still want to retain the pictographs underneath," said BLM archeologist Mark Boatwright.

The pictographs are from the Paiute Indians and located in one of their rock shelters. The locations of these ancient rock shelters aren't publicized, but they are open to the public. However, the spray painted graffiti shows somebody made the hike up and tagged the canyon walls.

The BLM says they believe the vandalism occurred sometime between the last week of October and the first week of November.

The BLM's four rangers assigned to the area cover a quarter million acres in southern Nevada. That means Site Stewards, volunteers with the Friends of Red Rock organization, are often the eyes on the ground monitoring these culturally sensitive sights.

The BLM's supervising ranger says they've received a half dozen tips on their hotline so far. You can call the hotline at (702) 515-5151 to report any tips.

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