19 World Heritage Monuments Destroyed in Conflict

Okay, not fully destroyed in every case but needlessly damaged, often beyond recognition.  One good reason to document what we can while we can.  Often, these are just looked at as buildings or just someone’s property without understanding the window they provide into our human past.  I see this on a different scale an in a different light here in the western United States.  Archaeological sites aren’t understood as important information but as a pile of disassociated bits and pieces to be collected up and sold on.  Our short lifespans hardly justify our ridiculous idea of “ownership” when it comes to an important place.

A short, but interesting article from CNN:


Tragic Greed Hurts Everyone

Petroglyph thefts near Bishop stun federal authorities and Paiutes

At least four ancient petroglyphs were cut from cliffs at the Volcanic Tableland and dozens of others damaged in ‘the worst act of vandalism ever seen’ on federal lands in the area.

From the article:

BISHOP, Calif. — Ancient hunters and gatherers etched vivid petroglyphs on cliffs in the Eastern Sierra that withstood winds, flash floods and earthquakes for more than 3,500 years. Thieves needed only a few hours to cut them down and haul them away.

Federal authorities say at least four petroglyphs have been taken from the site. A fifth was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides. A sixth had been removed and broken during the theft, then propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot.

Dozens of other petroglyphs were scarred by hammer strikes and saw cuts.

Read the entire piece in the LA Times by clicking here.

Looted Site in Texas

This year’s drought in Texas has caused water levels to drop significantly at many lakes, including Lake Whitney near Hillsboro in East Texas.  This drop in water level has exposed prehistoric sites along the lake, some of which are as old as 6,000 B.C.  Unfortunately, these sites have become the target of looters who are causing significant damage and destroying archaeological provenience while stealing cultural remains- some from burials.

Fortunately, some of the looters have been arrested and are now facing fines and probation.  Whatever fines and sentencing they face, it will be nowhere near enough.  These people are purposefully destroying the cultural and archaeological history of the Americas, and they should be judged and prosecuted harshly.

To view the video from kcentv.com or to read the accompanying news article click on the image above.