WILLIAMS, Ariz., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The careful cleanup of a rock bearing petroglyphs in Arizona nevertheless probably left behind a permanent mark, an archaeologist said Thursday.
The etchings on the wall of petroglyphs in Keyhole Sink, a box canyon near Williams, had been, until recently, undisturbed for at least 1,000 years, the Arizona Republic reported.
Kaibab National Forest Archaeologist Neil Weintraub said the thick silver paint that spelled the word "ace" over another splotch of paint was torch-heated and then soaked up with paper and sponges over a two-day period. The work was performed by a conservator.
The paint residue was lightened with solvent, and now there's a light spot on the rock where the paint was removed, the Republic reported.
Weintraub said the mark may be permanent depending on how the rock weathers.
"It will unfortunately never be the same. There's always going to be an area where you can tell there was paint there," he said.
The defacement was discovered in August, and investigators still don't know who did it, the Republic said.
Kaibab officials have stepped up staff and volunteer patrols of the petroglyph site, the newspaper said.
Petroglyph defacement is against federal law and violators face fines, prison or both, the newspaper said.