Vandals ‘irreparably damage’ prehistoric artwork in Big Bend by scratching names in rock


Vandals have “irreparably damaged” prehistoric artwork in Big Bend National Park by scratching their names on rocks, officials said.

A panel of ancient works, believed to be between 4,000 and 8,500 years old, has been defaced by a group of visitors to the Texas park, according to the US National Park Service.

The names Norma, Adrian, Isaac and Ariel and the date 12/26/21 can be seen in images of the disfigured rock released by authorities.

The graffiti was scratched on “abstract images of geometric shapes, circles and wavy lines”.

Park workers have treated the rock, but the damage is visible and the stone cannot be returned to its original condition, said Tom VandenBerg, chief interpretive and visitor services at Big Bend National Park.

“With each case of vandalism, part of our nation’s heritage is lost forever,” he told CNN.

“Surface scratches and discoloration are permanent. Ancient rock art is protected and connects humanity to our past. Each damaged site is a loss to the history and heritage that the national parks protect.


The NPS says there have been more than 50 acts of unlawful vandalism recorded in the park since 2015.

“Damaging the natural features and rock art is destroying the beauty and history the American people want to protect in our parks,” said Bob Krumenaker, Superintendent of Big Bend National Park.

Park managers are now asking anyone with information about the incidents or the people involved to come forward and contact law enforcement.

The park opened in 1944 and its 1,252 square miles are larger than the state of Rhode Island.


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