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Vandals deface pre-Hispanic stone carvings in central Mexico

In this combination of photographs provided by the press office of Totolac, pre-Hispanic rock carvings of a celestial sky, on the ceiling of a cave near Totolac, Mexico are shown on Dec. 29, 2013, top, and again on Aug. 5, 2015, after being defaced. Mexican authorities opened an investigation Tuesday, Aug. 11 into the spray-painting of a pair of pre-Hispanic petroglyphs in a cave in central Mexico. (J. Guadalupe Perez/Totolac Municipality Press Office via AP)

In this combination of photographs provided by the press office of Totolac, pre-Hispanic rock carvings of a celestial sky, on the ceiling of a cave near Totolac, Mexico are shown on Dec. 29, 2013, top, and again on Aug. 5, 2015, after being defaced. Mexican authorities opened an investigation Tuesday, Aug. 11 into the spray-painting of a pair of pre-Hispanic petroglyphs in a cave in central Mexico. (J. Guadalupe Perez/Totolac Municipality Press Office via AP)

Mexico attorney general's office says it has opened an investigation into the spray-painting of pre-Hispanic stone carvings in a cave in central Mexico.

The office says unknown vandals defaced ceremonial carvings of a celestial sky inside a site known as the Devil's Cave in Tlaxcala state.

The site is believed to have been used by shamans for agricultural rituals and is surrounded by hallucinogenic plants used in the ceremonies, said anthropologist J. Guadalupe Pérez, director of social communication for San Juan Totolac, the town where the damaged petroglyphs were found.

The attorney general said in a statement Tuesday that red spray paint was found on the carvings, violating a federal law protecting monuments and archeological sites.

Tlaxcala is the same state where residents recently tore down an 18th century chapel.

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