Inside the dark, cliffside cave last occupied by the people of Frijoles Canyon some 500 years ago, the markings are clearly visible.
“2008,” the ancient wall reads. “I love you,” with a heart etched into the soft volcanic tuff.
“Oh, man,” art conservator Larry Humetewa muttered softly as he bent to inspect the damage.
This is the largest of the cave-like rooms – called “cavates” – accessible to the 300,000 people who troop through Bandelier National Monument each year.