Vandals damage Native American petroglyphs near Blythe

Blythe

Vandals damage Native American petroglyphs near Blythe

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Blythe, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - An archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management says several petroglyphs in a remote area North of Bylthe are now covered with spray paint.

"There's a unicorn, a horse figure, the number 625, the name Sosa, a number of smiley faces and what appeared to be marijuana leafs," said archaeologist Thomas Jones.

Jones, who has been working on keeping the site preserved, tells 13 On Your Side it was heartbreaking to see the damage.

"It was just devastating to see the kind of damage that occurred. When the paint gets into the cracks of these petroglyphs, it's very challenging to remove, it's very difficult and even destructive," said Jones.

Jones says Native Americans pecked and scratched meaningful and cultural symbols into the rocks hundreds and even possibly thousands of years ago.

"They're just really neat examples of the prehistory in this area and any damage to them is just devastating in terms of the cultural loss we experience as a group," said Jones.

Jones says not only is this a big cultural loss to our community but it's offensive to the tribal members who still visit the area as their ancestors did.

The damage could cost thousands of dollars to repair and some designs may be lost forever.

Jones says the vandalism happened in February and they are still looking for the person responsible.

"Hopefully someone will come forward if they recognize the style or type of art, or if they were there when it occurred. We are hoping for information that will lead to an arrest," said Jones.

Law enforcement is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call the Bureau of Land Management Office.

 

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