21 Nov 2012

Sacred rock carvings stolen

10:08 am on 21 November 2012

Ancient rock carvings created by Native Americans have been hacked away by thieves using power saws.

At least four petroglyphs were stolen from a sacred site in the mountains of California and two others were damaged.

One was defaced with deep cuts on its sides. The other carving was removed and broken before being propped against a boulder near a car park.

Petroglyphs, or rock engravings, are created by removing the surface layer of rocks to reveal the colours below. They are usually of prehistoric origin.

The carvings were in the Volcanic Tablelands of California. They vanished from a site on land held sacred by the Paiute-Shoshone tribe in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, near the Nevada state line. They are priceless to Native Americans.