Vandals Deface ‘Birthing Rock,’ 1000-Year-Old Rock Art in Utah
Utah has become a modern center of vandalism, where the socially untethered who live outside the confines of the law that most of us adhere to commit crimes against both new and old creations. Now, a panel of ancient indigenous rock art has been destroyed, in what is becoming a disturbing pattern across America.
Another ancient petroglyph panel, known as the “Birthing Rock,” has been vandalized in Moab, Utah. Enraged, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals. A string of immature obscenities was painted across the rock face in Utah in a region that was recently attacked by a rock climber from Colorado. The Art Newspaper explained how the climber damaged an ancient petroglyph panel known as the Sunshine Wall near Arches National Park by installing climbing bolts on and around the rock art.
The Birthing Rock prior to the vandalism. (Jim Hedd /HistoricMysteries.com/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
After this latest incident BLM has offered $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for defacing the panel. BLM said in a statement that they were planning to remove the paint from the rock panel, and to prevent further damage it had to remind the public “to not attempt to clean or remove the graffiti.”
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Utah’s Fight Against “Criminal Mischief”
Last year, one of those tacky monoliths was discovered at Canyonlands National Park in Utah and it was removed after an uncontrollable influx of visitors trashed the site. But what exactly has been destroyed in Utah now?
An ancient rock art panel, known as the “Birthing Rock,” has been vandalized in Moab, Utah. (Moab Sun News)
The Moab region is home to some of the most significant archaeological sites and national parks in North America and the Birthing Rock petroglyphs are located in territory belonging to the Anasazi, Fremont, and Ute cultures. The images are based on celestial observations and decorated with animal and human figures. Although there is no reliable dating technique for rock art void of organic matter, archaeologists have dated the panel’s artwork to around 1,000 years ago.
A panel of the "Birthing Rock" rock art in Moab, Utah, prior to its defacement with racist and obscene carvings. (I.M. Stile/CC BY-NC 2.0)
According to Inter Mountain Legal, under Utah law “those convicted of painting graffiti may be ordered to pay restitution for any damage caused or to remove the offending graffiti at their own expense.” “Vandalism” is called “criminal mischief” under Utah law and it can be graded in court anywhere from a Class B misdemeanor for less than $500 in damage to a second-degree felony for more than $5,000.
Educating the Great Undereducated
It is not without a sense of sadness that the state of Utah recently launched the Stop Archaeological Vandalism initiative, which says it “seeks to educate the public about rock art and historic sites,” in the hope they stop destroying them. The trouble with this initiative is that those people who commit the crimes are certainly not reading about it, because the underlying problem is that many of them simply cannot read.
If you research why the world is experiencing a rise in low level crime you will find that one of the major underlying problems is falling IQs. According to JRank, the central question of IQ-crime studies is whether individuals with less intelligence, on average, commit more crime than those with more intelligence. The best answer is a qualified “yes” as delinquents and criminals average “IQ scores 8 to 10 points lower than noncriminals, which is about one-half a standard deviation.”
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But don’t for a moment think this is an American problem, for Dr. Ole Rogeberg, a senior research fellow at the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Norway, said his study demonstrated that Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland, and Estonia are all on a “downward trend in IQ scores.” Hence, a rise in low level crimes, like what has just occurred in Utah, again.
Top Image: Birthing Rock, an ancient rock art panel near Moab, Utah. Source: Anne Lindgren /Adobe Stock
By Ashley Cowie