Unknown vandals destroyed 3,000 year-old paintings carved on granite and limestone at Mount Pangaion, near Kavala in northern Greece, it was revealed on Tuesday.
According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), unknown vandals appear to have scraped several carvings depicting human figures, animals, plants and other scenes of day-to-day life off rocks in the area using a wire brush, though it did not specify how many were destroyed or how many remain.
Theodoros Lymberakis, a local lawyer and historian, told the ANA-MPA that the rock carvings may have been destroyed by gold prospectors trying to scupper the competition who believe they were made by ancient settlers on the ore-rich hills to indicate the location of deposits.
The carvings were discovered in 1966 by Aristotle University Professor Nikolaos Moutsopoulos but have not been listed for preservation and are therefore vulnerable to the elements and human activity.
“They are a part of our rich and significant cultural heritage and need to be safeguarded. Culture is not just the Acropolis and other famous monuments; it is also these drawings, which give us important information about how people lived 3,000 years ago,” Lymberakis told the ANA-MPA.
According to archaeologists, the earliest of the rock paintings date back to the Late Bronze Age (around the 3rd millennium BC), while the most recent are from the early Christian times.