Ancient Rock Art in Texas ‘Irreparably Damaged’ by Vandals

A grouping of ancient rock carvings in Texas’s Big Bend National Park were vandalized at the end of December, the National Park Service said last week. Authorities warned that the vandalism is not reversible.

The rock carvings, known as petroglyphs, are sited in an area known as Indian Head. They date back multiple millennia, though it has not yet been possible for experts to determine an exact age.

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In pictures released by the National Park Service, the names “ISAAC,” “NORMA,” “Ariel,” and “Adrian” were scratched into a rock, along with “12-26-21,” the date that the National Park Service said the vandalism took place. It wasn’t clear who had committed the vandalism, although the National Park Service said that the perpetrators had undertaken illegal activity.

The National Park Service said in its announcement that the petroglyphs had been “irreparably damaged.”

In a statement, Big Bend National Park superintendent Bob Krumenaker said, “Big Bend National Park belongs to all of us. Damaging natural features and rock art destroys the very beauty and history that the American people want to protect in our parks. With each instance of vandalism, part of our Nation’s heritage is lost forever.”

The National Park Service said that it had recorded more than 50 instances of vandalism in Indian Head since 2015. In that time, the amount of people who have passed through Indian Head has risen. According to Texas Monthly, in 2021, as many as 600,000 people could have visited Indian Head, which until recently was not considered a major destination.


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