A 1,000-year-old giant boulder covered with carved images of the Buddha statues has been severely damaged due to government neglect in southwest China,according to the official news website of Sichuan province. Local officials say they did not protect the site because they could not find any writings on the rock to tell them what it was created, Newsssc.org reported. The intricate carvings were created between the mid-Tang Dynasty, more than 1,000 years ago, to the Qing Dynasty, according to archaeologists. READ MORE: Fake monks and debt thwart grand plans for ancient Buddhist temple in China Almost every statue is now covered by layers of moss or vines, while many faces have been destroyed or removed by “malicious people” with drills and other scrapping tools, local farmers said. The existence of the relic remained little known to the world outside. Local villagers said the site used to be a large temple and the relic, which the locals call “the rock of a thousand Buddhas,” was the only surviving remnant. Some farmers took rocks with carvings from the site to build or decorate their houses, archaeologists said. The main cause of damage to the relic was vandalism, although serious weathering also played an important role due to the lack of protection. Archaeologists had reported the existence and poor state of the relic to local authorities as early as the 1980s, but no preservation has been carried out. Sichuan province is home to many of China’s important religious sites, among them the giant seated Buddha at Leshan, carved out of the 70m high cliff in the 8th century.