5,000-Year-Old Carving in Norway Ruined by a Child

August 4, 2016 Updated: August 4, 2016

A 5,000-year-old carving of a skier in Norway was ruined by a child, who could now face prosecution.

The child unwittingly vandalized the rock, which depicts an image of a man on skis, and is considered one of Norway’s most famous historical sites, The Local reported

The unidentified child used a sharp object to try and make the carving of the skier at Tro clearer, the website reported. The carving provides one of the earliest depictions of a man skiing, and the image helped inspire the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer, Norway.

“It’s a tragedy, because it’s one of the most famous Norwegian historical sites,” said Bård Anders Langø, the mayor of Alstahaug, located near the rock carving. “It is one of the most internationally known symbols of Norway.”

To make matters worse, the damage is likely irreversible, said archaeologists. “They are going back in September to do a bigger study, but what they can say now is that it’s probably damaged forever, and we may not ever be able to see the pictogram of the skier as it was originally made 5,000 years ago,” Langø told the paper.

The youth and another child damaged other rock carvings nearby, but it was “done out of good intentions,” he added. “They were trying to make it more visible actually, and I don’t think they understood how serious it was. I think now they understand.”

The Telegraph, which also reported that two youths were responsible for the damage, reported that they could now face prosecution under the Norway’s Cultural Heritage Act.

Tor-Kristian Storvik, an archaeologist for Norway’s Nordland County, said he’s not prepared to take back the crime report sent to police even though children came forward and took responsibility. “We are instructed by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage to report all violations of the Cultural Heritage Act, and this is a quite serious violation,” he told the newspaper.