Ancient Norwegian rock carving 'damaged forever' after boys attempt to restore it
A 5,000-year-old rock carving in Norway which depicts a figure skiing has been "damaged forever" by youths who claim they were trying to improve it.
The two alleged vandals said they had been trying to repair the historical site by carving over the outline of the figure to make it easier to see – but local officials described their makeshift restoration as a "tragedy" for Norway's cultural heritage.
Both boys now face potential criminal charges under Norway's Cultural Heritage Act, according to archaeologist Tor-Kristian Storvik, who was the first to survey the damage to the Stone Age carving.
Before and after: (Top) What the rock carving looked like before the boys used a sharp object to scratch over it; and (bottom) the result of their effort. Photos: Nordland County
Storvik, the archeologist for Norway's Nordland county, said that he was pleased that the boys had come forward and confessed, but was not ready to retract the crime report sent to the police. "This is a quite serious violation," he told The Daily Telegraph.
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He rushed to the site to survey the damage last Tuesday after someone reported that a sharp object had been used to desecrate the carvings. "It's a sad, sad story," he said.
"The new lines are both in and outside where the old marks were. We'll never again be able to experience these carvings the way we have for the past 5,000 years."
The teenagers released a public apology on Friday, saying they had been trying to repair the relic, reported the Independent.
The carving, on the west-coast island of Tro, is one of the country's most famous sites, providing some of the earliest evidence of skiing in the world. It inspired the symbol used for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
"We have talked to the perpetrators and their families and they want to apologise for what they have done," Bard Anders Lango, the mayor, said.
"It was done out of good intentions. They were trying to make it more visible actually, and I don't think they understood how serious it was."
- The Telegraph, London