In recent months, vandals have defaced both natural features and man-made cultural artifacts in Joshua Tree National Park, and a mural in Joshua Tree. But defacement of Native American landmarks has been an ongoing fact of life for a longer time. Reporter Dan Stork invites you to a lecture this week on the subject…

At this month’s second Friday Old Schoolhouse Lecture, Sam Hunter, a site steward for the Bureau of Land Management, will describe past damage and ongoing jeopardy to petroglyphs. Hunter has been researching the Black Mountains of Superior Valley for over six years, trying to uncover the meaning behind thousands of Native American rock etchings—the “petroglyphs”—found in the area. The Black Mountain Rock Art District contains the largest concentration of Native American rock art in the Mojave Desert. The Rock Art District is on the National Register of Historic Places and protected by federal law against vandalism and artifact removal. There were many petroglyphs riddled with bullet marks and damaged by people attempting to remove them. Vandalism affects Twentynine Palms and the Joshua Tree National Park; both of which have suffered serious damage to the rock writings, often times due to an ignorance of their true value. The lecture is at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at the Old Schoolhouse Museum, 6760 National Park Drive in Twentynine Palms. There will also be an optional dinner with the speaker at 5 p.m. at the 29 Palms Inn, space is limited and attendees are responsible for their own meal. If interested in dinner please RSVP to Marion Gartner 760-361-1202 or desert29palms@yahoo.com

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