A Cortez man has been sentenced to federal prison for damaging an archaeological resource, an ancestral Puebloan site, in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
Shadrick Winbourn, 57, was sentenced to 12 months and one day for violating the Archeological Resources Protection Act, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Colorado.
Winbourn appeared at the sentencing hearing and was remanded into federal custody, according to Wednesday’s news release.
Winbourn made several trips into a section of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, near Cortez, in May and June 2017, where he located an ancestral Puebloan ceremonial site with a large dance plaza, a likely subterranean kiva, and multiple human burials.
“Winbourn illegally excavated, removed, damaged and altered the site,” the news release said.
He was arrested June 4, 2017, on an unrelated warrant, and a Bureau of Land Management ranger found pottery shards in Winbourn’s pockets and additional artifacts in a backpack.
In all, investigators found 64 items from the protected site in his possession, including jewelry, an axe head, and other tools, the release said. Archaeologists have restored the site and curated the stolen objects.
“Archaeological resources at the Canyons of the Ancients are irreplaceable cultural artifacts that have been entrusted to the common good,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn in the release. “Anyone who seeks to destroy or profit off of these resources will face prosecution and serious consequences.”
Winbourn was indicted by a federal grand jury Dec. 6 and sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn.
The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is 176,000 acres of public land administered by the BLM. It contains more than 6,355 recorded archaeological sites rich with well-preserved artifacts of native cultures.
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