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29 October 2006
Ancient rock art in Utah vandalised

Vandals defaced an ancient rock art panel near Vernal (Utah, USA) sometime in the last 10 days, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said. "They engraved names and dates" across a rock art panel, said Blaine Phillips, a BLM archaeologist. "They pretty well destroyed it." The panel was one of four examples of the Barrier Canyon-style of rock art found in the Vernal area. Experts believe the rock art dates back several thousand years, though little is known about the early American Indians who created the images. The style includes ghostly-looking human-sized figures with no legs.
         BLM officials are now trying to determine whether the rock art panel is on government or private property, which will dictate which agency investigates the vandalism. If it is on federal land, the vandalism is in violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, or ARPA. "If it is [on BLM land] we will aggressively pursue an ARPA investigation," Phillips said.  Jones said the state has similar legislation that can be used in pursuing the vandals, if the rock art is determined to be on state land. Anyone who has information about the incident should contact the BLM's Vernal field office at 435-781-4400.

Sources: Associated Press, KUTV.com, The Salt Lake Tribune (27 October 2006)

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