ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — Rangers at Big South Fork National Recreation Area are using electronic sensors to keep looters from stealing Native American artifacts.
Archeologist Tom Des Jean says some of the area’s 1500 sites have been destroyed by looters. They dig pits and sift the dirt looking for prehistoric artifacts such as arrowheads and pottery.
Protecting the 120,000 acre East Tennessee preserve is a big job. Des Jean says Ranger are fighting back with new technology and old fashion policing.
“We put sensors out at rock shelters and found people with shovels and screens digging. The Rangers now are very focused on getting out in the park and walking the cliff lines to stop this kind of destruction before we lose these pieces of stored up time capsules forever.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Des Jean notes that disturbing archeological sites in the park is a federal crime.