A 5,000-year-old rock carving in Norway that shows a figure on skis has been damaged by two Norwegian youth who claim they were simply trying to enhance its appearance. An archaeologist who inspected the damage confirmed on Sunday that both boys could face criminal charges under Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act.
The boys thought the stone-age skiing carving located on the island of Tro off Nordland in northern Norway was faded so they used a sharp object to outline it to make it more visible to visitors. Bård Anders Langø, mayor of the nearby Alstahaug Municipality, reports that the damage is irreversible.
Bård Anders Langø calls this a tragedy for Norway’s cultural heritage. The ancient carving is one of Norway’s most famous historical sites because it shows some of the earliest evidence of skiing in the world. In fact, the carving was also an inspiration for the symbols used during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
The boys came forward and released an apology. Although, officials say that the act was done out of good intentions, they did not understand that they committed a serious violation.
“It’s a sad, sad story,” says Tor-Kristian Storvik, the county archaeologist for Norway’s Nordland County, as told by the Telegraph. “The new lines are both in and outside where the old marks had been. We will never again be able to experience these carvings the way we have for the last 5,000 years.”
Other rock carvings at the site, including a carving of a whale, were also damaged. Many people insist that the youth face punishment. However, the boys are unnamed to protect them from abuse.
The archaeologists will return in September to investigate the carving further. However, they assert that the carving will most likely not go back to its previous state as it was for the past 5,000 years.