Update: petroglyph thefts and photos

A sierrawave.net reader provided these dramatic photos of the damage and thefts at the petroglyph site. This shows an attempt to steal with four sides cut by a saw.

As media worldwide continue to report on the theft of ancient petroglyph art from the volcanic tablelands north of Bishop, BLM and the Bishop Paiute Tribe continue to offer a reward to find the thieves and a donation fund now offers a chance for anyone to help.


Glyphs that were apparently too big to steal.

The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association has set up a new donation fund Check out their website http://www.esiaonline.com/. Donation checks should note either the reward fund, interpretive opportunities, adopt a camera for surveillance or archaeological site stewardship training and volunteer opportunities. Send checks to ESIA, 190 E. Yaney St., Bishop, CA 93514. Call 760-873-2411.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Bishop Paiute Tribe have contributed $1,000 each to the now $2,000 reward fund for information that would lead to the identity and conviction of the thieves. At BLM, call Melody Stehwein at 760-937-0301 or Eric Keefer at 760-937-0657.

With tall ladders, generators and power saws, someone went up 15 feet to saw out at least four petroglyphs and to damage dozens of others with hammers and saws. The damage was discovered at the end of October and went public before the

This photo shows where a petroglyph was sawed out and removed.

holiday. BLM has heightened surveillance since that time.

At the parking area, a boulder sits with a sawed off petroglyph.

Greg Haverstock, Bishop Field Office BLM Archaeologist, said, “The damaged site was 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.”

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 Paiutes for ceremonies.

In a story posted on the BBC News website, Raymond Andrews of the Bishop Tribe, was quoted as saying, “Like other indigenous groups, we believe in karma. Something is going to happen. We can try to investigate, but some things are out of our hands.”

A footprint stolen from this rock at Fish Slough.

Past petroglyph theft at Fish Slough.


8 Responses to Update: petroglyph thefts and photos

  1. Big AL November 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Pretty sad!

    • Trouble November 26, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      An Mammoth is worried about bent snow stakes 🙂

      • john Delgado November 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

        Bent Snow snakes are a hire priority in mono county

      • Steve K November 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

        So Mammoth should ignore vandalism because of what happened to the petroglyphs? I’m sorry, but I don’t get it.

        • mobiltec November 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

          Mammoth is strapped for money and doesn’t even have enough to keep a decent police department running. The city of Mammoth has nothing to do with indian artifacts anyway. Why should this be of any concern to them when it’s the feds who control the area? I would think the casino in Bishop would be doing more but they don’t seem to care any more than $1000 worth so why should Mammoth be concerned at all?

  2. Baby Jesus November 27, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    The sign of our times, unfortunately. No respect anymore…for anything.

  3. mobiltec November 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    I was surprised that the BLM only offered a $1000 reward. But… I was even MORE surprised that the casino, with all it’s profits hasn’t offered anything. And if $1000 is all the value that the Paiute tribe places on their “sacred” areas, I think it’s not worth worrying about. In these hard financial times, why would the white man care to spend any kind of money on catching the perps or protecting what’s left when the indiginous people who were affected only care to the tune of less than one month’s rent. At the same time the BLM is running around destroying historical sites or closing them to traffic all over the state and no one has made a single complaint.

  4. Big AL November 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I do agree the reward should be much higher … I don’t believe a fund should be set up for the reward, if you want a fund for the purpose of helping in this situation, then have it go to making the damaged sites help work to educate people of what happened and why it is more important, in the wake of this tragedy to show people why we need to protect it.

    There is money that the tribe and the government can put up to boost odds of someone ratting these people out.

    I don’t agree it is the white mans problem or the native’s problem, it is our problem.


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