Forest Service seeking information on archaeological site vandalism

Release Date: Jan 20, 2015  

Jordan Cave VandalismFlagstaff, Ariz. – U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigation on the Red Rock Ranger District is seeking information concerning vandalism to an archaeological site known as Jordan Cave near the Jordan Trailhead parking lot in Sedona.

On Dec. 16, 2014, several individuals in Jordan Cave were seen removing and throwing rocks from the walls of the site over a steep embankment. Some of the rocks were also dug from the prehistoric floor of the site and were thrown over the embankment.

Law Enforcement is trying to identify and locate the individuals in the attached photo who might be able to assist in the investigation regarding the vandalism.

“These prehistoric sites are rare treasures on our public lands and the Forest Service takes every effort to preserve and protect those resources,” said Patrol Captain Jon Nelson. “Once these sites are damaged, it removes a piece of the puzzle of how past communities lived an existed over time that cannot be replaced. It not only destroys scientific evidence, it denies the public from seeing these areas as they were left by the Pueblo people who lived here centuries ago.”

It is illegal to excavate, remove, damage, alter or deface any archaeological resource, to include surface collecting. An archaeological resource is defined as any historic or prehistoric object or resource that is 50 years or older.

These acts of vandalism and theft to protected sites are found under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1979, under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations 261.9(g), which makes it a criminal violation under federal law. The severity of the crime ranges from a Class B Misdemeanor, which is six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, to a felony, which is one year in jail and/or $20,000 fine.

Anyone with information regarding this vandalism should contact Officer Mike O’Neil at 928-203-7512.