Historians are comparing it to the Taliban’s destruction of massive Buddhist statues in Afghanistan: Ancient aboriginal pictograms and petroglyphs on an Albertan rock formation have been systematically destroyed by cultural vandals using a rock drill, acid and a power washer.
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A power washer was apparently used to strip off the lichen to reveal the carvings and stained symbols. It appears acid was then sprayed to scorch off the painted images and destroy its value for date testing, Mr. Knowlton said.
A rock bore or hammer drill was used to repeatedly drill out the rock to obscure the carvings.
To do all of that would have required more than one person, a power generator, a pressure washer with a 100-litre water tank, a 1-1/2-inch electric hammer drill, appropriate bits, access to acid or a similar industrial-strength chemical, lights, ladders and a heavy truck, he said.
“It seems a deliberate effort,” said Mr. Knowlton. “This isn’t a theft or simple vandalism.”
Another Alberta site containing aboriginal pictograms and petroglyphs was recently filled in with epoxy cement, while another blown up for use as gravel.
The question, of course, is who did this and why. While Alberta is Canada’s version of the Bible Belt, there remains the possibility that the perpetrators were worshipping the trinity of oil, gas and money. Still, destroying aboriginal artifacts is not the sole indicator of ugly behaviour devoted to the elimination of irreplaceable artifacts of the past.
Someone has purposefully destroyed an “irreplaceable” dinosaur skeleton that was meant to be displayed at a new fossil museum in northern Alberta, says a paleontologist involved in a dig.
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The destruction isn’t an isolated incident. Three other fossils have been damaged at the dig site since May. In June, several bones were stolen from the dig.
Suffice to say there is something pretty sick going on out there, and I can only hope the police actually find and properly prosecute the people responsible.