A treasured rock art panel in Gold Butte National Monument (GBNM) has been vandalized again.

This panel, commonly known as the “Mud Wash” rock art site, is the only petroglyph panel in GBNM that is accessible by vehicle. Bullet holes, graffiti, and trash have been found here in the past.   Most recently a portion of the panel has been removed.  The crime is being investigated by Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement and a conviction for violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act may lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and five years in jail.

The Mud Wash panel is a special site to stop and view on your travels on the Gold Butte Byway.  You can drive up to this panel and marvel at the number and significance of the writings without getting out of your vehicle; a real treasure!

Petroglyphs are drawings pecked onto rock surfaces by people who lived in our area probably AD 1300 to 1650 although some maybe as much as 3,000 years old.  Archeologists know little about the images.  Likely they served several functions in the absence of a written language, such as basic messages, ritualistic symbols, territory markers, or even celestial signs.

Damage to petroglyphs is an affront to the people who lived here in the past and a terrible loss to those who will travel here in the future,.

We are asking the community for your support in protecting and preserving our archeological heritage.

Please do your part in cleaning up trash, and look, photograph, admire,  but don’t touch the archeological writings. If you find damage you can report it to Nevada’s State Historic Preservation Office.  For reporting purposes, please take close up and overview photographs and include the specific location of the damage.

To report vandalism go to:  http://shpo.nv.gov/get-involved/report-damage-to-archaeological-sites-in-nevada