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6 February 2013
Californian rock carvings recovered after theft

A series of rock carvings that date back more than 3,500 years that were sheared off and taken from a sacred American Indian site in California's Sierra Nevada (USA) have been recovered three months after the theft was discovered. Authorities said no one has been arrested and they wouldn't provide details about the discovery, saying only that it was made after they received an anonymous tip in a letter.
     Native Americans carved pictures of hunters, deer and other animals, along with geometric and other designs on hundreds of lava boulders that make up a half-mile-long volcanic escarpment in the Sierra.
     It's unclear what will happen to the carvings but federal authorities will be speaking to Paiute-Shoshone tribal leaders to accommodate their wishes. "This was a terrible thing to happen from their perspective, said David Christy, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management. "We are extremely pleased to get them back." Removing or damaging petroglyphs is a felony and first-time offenders can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined as much as $20,000, authorities said.
     Visitors to the area, known as Volcanic Tableland, discovered the theft and reported it to federal authorities in October. The thieves are believed to have used ladders, electric generators and power saws to remove the panels that are two feet high and wide. The site, north of Bishop, is protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Edited from San Francisco Chronicle (1 February 2013)

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