Bureau of Land Management: Petroglyphs damaged near Santa Fe

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SANTA FE COUNTY, N.M. – Officials with the Bureau of Land Management say some artifacts at the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs in Santa Fe County were vandalized. Now the search is on for those responsible.

The vandalism was discovered last week, but as of Tuesday, people can still see some of the graffiti.

The Pueblo of La Cienguilla land grant is home to elder Joseph Villegas. And the petroglyphs are critical pieces of history for this community.

“Someone just broke the boundaries of all boundaries. You just don’t do that, not in northern New Mexico,” said Villegas.

Graffiti starts at the trail head and weaves along the path, it even reaches the top of the rocks. Pictures of genitalia, pentagrams and what appears to be some signature can also be seen.

“The damage that they’ve done. It’s unreplaceable,” Villegas said.

It’s a crime. Pamela Mathis is Field Manager for the Bureau of Land Management Taos Field Office, she said these petroglyphs are protected pieces of history.

“Can you imagine that we have proof of life and what people were doing, the importance and the interpretation and then keeping that intact so that future generations can understand the heritage and what happened here in New Mexico,” said Mathis.

Now they’re working to hold whoever did this responsible, knowing that fixing it, won’t be easy.

“There are some supplies that we’ve already ordered. We will have a group volunteer day, but it will be under our watch because we have to make sure it’s done correctly,” Mathis said.

To preserve what happened on this sacred land many, many years ago.

“For tribal nations, it’s sacred because there’s a story behind each of those sacred pictures,” said Villegas.

New Mexico Wild is offering a $1,000 reward to catch those responsible. Folks with BLM say people who damage cultural sites can face a felony charge, up to two years in prison, and a $20,000 fine.

If you have any information, you’re asked to contact BLM dispatch.