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19 August 2007
Prehistoric stone bowl stolen from Canadian beach

A massive stone bowl believed to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old has been stolen from a beach on Mayne Island (British Columbia, Canada), an area belonging to the Tsartlip First Nation. Drag marks are visible down Helen Point Beach and band members assume a large boat was used to remove the bowl, said Chief Chris Tom. "It has to weigh at least a couple of tonnes. This was not done on the spur of the moment. Someone must have recognized it and made plans," he said.
     The bowl, last seen July 25, was embedded into the bank under strong tree roots, but the wash from B.C. Ferries exposed it, Tom said. The bowl was stolen previously about 15 years ago, but, after publicity, was returned to the beach anonymously, Tom said. Band members then debated whether the artifact should be taken back to band headquarters in Brentwood, but decided to leave it where it had been for thousands of years, he said. "That's when we embedded it in the bank so it was not visible."
     Wendy Edwards, Tsartlip lands manager, said the bowl is believed to have been used originally in food preparation, such as grinding flour. Edwards was among band members who argued to have the bowl taken to Vancouver Island where it could be protected. She was on the beach this week with an RCMP officer, talking about another issue, when she noticed the bowl was missing. "I don't think someone could sell it very easily, but we do see artifacts for sale. Middens have been raided," she said.
     Outer Gulf Islands RCMP Cpl. Ron Parker, who was with Edwards on the beach, noted the bowl was more than a metre across, and would have required a landing craft or heavy equipment to remove it. One question is whether it was taken by someone who knew its importance to the band, said Parker, who plans to talk to an archaeologist about potential markets for the bowl.

Source: Times Colonist (17 August 2007)

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