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Damage to petroglyphs near Santa Fe is being federally investigated

La Cienegilla petroglyphs
U.S. Bureau of Land Management
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U.S. Bureau of Land Management
La Cienegilla petroglyphs

Federal officials are investigating spray-painted graffiti and other damage to petroglyphs dating back thousands of years at a site west of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the damage to La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs likely occurred Jan. 18.

The agency's field office in Taos has ordered supplies to try and remove the paint, but the agency says the long-term effects are unknown.

According to a news release, those convicted of damaging cultural sites face penalties of up to two years in prison and a $20,000 fine per charge under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.