Ancient Tasmanian Hand Prints Destroyed By Vandals

hand-stencil.jpg__800x600_q85_cropdestruction-pic.jpg__800x450_q85_crop_upscaleWe have been discussing the destruction of national parks and artistic works. However, the acts of vandalism in Tasmania this week are truly shocking after someone gratuitously destroyed 8,000-year-old Aboriginal artworks.

Tasmania’s Nirmena Nala rock shelter has some of the most famous preserved stenciled handprints made by the ancestors of Australia’s aboriginal people in an upper region of the Australian island’s Derwent Valley. They have been there for thousands of years and have drawn thousands to the area to see the handprints. However, someone decided to scratch out the images and deface the rock.

The images were made by the Big River people, also known as the teen toomele menennye and this is considered a sacred site for aboriginal people.

The problem is Tasmania is a familiar one discussed on this blog: out-dated laws with little punishment. The Aboriginal Relics Act 1875 says that people found guilty of destroying Aboriginal heritage sites can face either a $1,104 fine (USD) or six months in prison.

A maximum of sentence of just six months is set by the law . . . for maliciously destroying markings that has been preserved for thousands of years. It would be laughable if it were not so sad for the culture and people of Tasmania.

13 thoughts on “Ancient Tasmanian Hand Prints Destroyed By Vandals

  1. Apparently destruction of so many historical sights (the oldest Christian church in Mosul) requires guarding against terrorists. If we want to save the world’s history we must guard it. At least we have pictures to know they once existed. The art we could not find after WWII, a great loss to educated societies. Unless we destroy terrorism we will continue to lose so much of our history. The human loss is painfully more to consider.

  2. As Sandi noted, but not sure she was including the over 100 Japanese cities the US fire-bombed and those it nuked, or the US bombing of Dresden and other German cities filled with ancient artifacts, or the US bombing of large numbers of ancient historical sites in VietNam, Sure vandalism is sinful, but not nearly to the degree that bombs are.

    • Dresden was a blow to the German people. Many still blame Americans even though we were bombing munitions sites. As is happening ISIS hides in cities to deter us. Japan would have kept fighting, killing millions. Truman made a difficult decision, but saved many lives.

  3. For its: one, two three,
    What are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn.
    Next stop is Viet Nam!

    And its five, six, seven,
    Open up the Pearly Gates!
    Ain’t no time to wonder why….
    Whopee we’re all gonna die.

  4. Terrorism is not an ideology. It is a strategy. Destroying it is like destroying “infantry, guerilla warfare, or ‘special ops.'” Some real laws and a campaign might help–if you can get anyone’s attention for more than 5 seconds these days.

  5. Sad that the human race loses a bit of its history. However, this affects me not one bit. This is such a small incident in our timeline, which has absolutely no real effect on anyone reading this blog.

    How big of a deal is it really to any of you? Will you send money to fund an armed guard 24/7/365? Or will you simply decry and hand wring simply urging somebody to DO SOMETHING? If this isn’t your country, there isn’t all that much you can do save donating. However, nobody will stop you (maybe the authorities on site) from jetting over and setting up camp with your rifle, night vision, and MREs.

  6. For all of you wondering about artifacts during WWII, the large majority were hidden is bomb-proof caves and protected. Dresden was unexcusable since it was not a military target.

    BTW, strategic bombing against Germany was ineffective. They just move everything into caves. Their output was as high at the end of the war as it was at the beginning, except they started losing the caves.

    The same is true for the Japanese, who put school children to work in the armament factories.

  7. This hurts my stomach to read.

    Trace evidence of a human being’s hand, and life, right at that spot 8,000 years ago. A look into prehistoric times. Such sites are moving for hundreds of thousands of visitor’s, and they’ve ruined it for everyone…forever.

    Unless we can guard ancient, historic, or national treasure sites like high security museums, I see all of them eventually becoming destroyed.

  8. Anybody but me think this is related in some way to ISIS’ destruction of historical artifacts? A sort of world-wide historical revisionism occurring for some reason not yet known?

  9. Vandals, vandals … everywhere.
    Cut their hands off in Saint Claire.
    When in doubt, never shout.
    Simply cut their geni tiles out.

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