Vandals of AZ archaeological site sentenced - CBS 5 - KPHO

Vandals of AZ archaeological site sentenced

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TUCSON, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

The Bureau of Land Management says that five young adults convicted of defacing a prehistoric American Indian site outside of Tucson have been fined more than $43,000 and sentenced to five years of probation.

The agency said Monday that the five people from Sahuarita, who range in age from 20 to 23, were sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to defacing an archaeological resource in June.

Each was fined about $7,800 while a juvenile involved was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution.

The archaeological site is known as Indian Kitchen. The site, southeast of Tucson, was first used by members of prehistoric Hohokam culture to grind grain on bedrock.

A massive rock formation there contains 33 mortar holes in the bedrock which were used by these ancient people to grind grain.

In March 2009, a BLM law enforcement ranger observed that the archeological site had been damaged by graffiti when he was patrolling BLM-administered public lands west of Sahuarita.

A cleanup effort was launched by the BLM to remove the massive amount of graffiti spray- painted on the rocks. Unfortunately, the cleanup was unsuccessful in removing all of the graffiti, and paint is still visible. The damage done was estimated to exceed $40,000.

Copyright 2011 KPHO. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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