Story at a glance
- An area known as Track Rock Gap in a national forest is home to a series of rock carvings created by Creek and Cherokee people more than 1,000 years ago.
- The U.S. Forest Service announced several carvings had been vandalized.
- The agency shared pictures via Facebook showing petroglyphs scratched beyond recognition and painted over with bright colors.
Ancient Native American rock carvings found at Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in northern Georgia have been defaced by vandals, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
An area known as Track Rock Gap in the national forest is home to a series of rock carvings, or petroglyphs, that were created by Creek and Cherokee people on soapstone boulders more than 1,000 years ago. The area features more than a hundred carvings of a wide range of figures and is considered one of the most significant rock art sites in the southeastern U.S.
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But on Monday, the U.S. Forest Service announced several carvings had been vandalized and the agency shared pictures via Facebook showing petroglyphs scratched beyond recognition and painted over with bright colors.
“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is sad and frustrated to learn that Track Rock had been vandalized,” the National Park Service Tribal Heritage Preservation Office said in a statement.
“These are special and rare sites. They are special sites for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and for all people as part of the Heritage of this region. Whether through ignorance or malice — the result is irreparable damage to a unique site that connects us directly to the people of the past.”
Officials said the damage may have occurred several months back as the national forest covers more than 860,000 acres across 26 counties, according to The Macon Telegraph.
“The past belongs to all Americans. When looters and vandals destroy archeological and historic sites, part of the Nation’s heritage is lost forever,” the U.S. Forest Service said.
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