From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To: "'Matthias Giessler'"
Subject: Little Bighorn ARPA Case/Mesa Verde Burn Area Rehab
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 96 15:01:00 MST
Encoding: 86 TEXT
[ Clipped from FPForum -- SASIG Ed. ]
From: Anne Vawser
96-494 - Little Bighorn (Montana) - ARPA Case
A six-week-long investigation into an archeological theft from the park
concluded last week with an undercover purchase, service of a search
warrant, and the filing of charges against an Illinois man. While visiting
the park in 1991, Joseph Anderson discovered and excavated a set of
binoculars from immediately below and to the east of "Last Stand Hill."
Anderson took the binoculars, leaving behind a fragment chipped from an
eyepiece which was broken off when he kicked them free from the cement-like
sandy soil. An anonymous phone call from a person who knew of the theft
led to the development of an informant who agreed to call Anderson to
determine if he still had the binoculars. During the taped telephone
conversation, the informant determined that Anderson might be willing to
sell them. The informant visited Anderson's home in Champagne, Illinois,
and purchased the binoculars for $5,000. Anderson also provided a sketch
map confirming the location of the site, and offered to provide a statement
about the discovery for the informant's possible use in an out-of-state
resale. Anderson was served with the search warrant and the binoculars and
money were seized. Charges are pending an indictment on three counts of 16
and 18 USC violations. Rangers working this case included historian John
Doerner and chief ranger Michael Stops (LIBI), special agent Guy Whitmer
(INDU), and criminal investigator John Weddle (JEFF). [Erny Kuncl, SA,
Mesa Verde (Colorado) - Burned Area Rehabilitation
The DOI burn area emergency rehabilitation (BAER) team has completed a plan
containing specifications for stabilization of fire and fire suppression
impacts and for rehabilitation of areas burned by the Chapin #5 fire in
August. The team has identified four critical issues:
- The fire and fire suppression efforts damaged 295 documented, 75 newly
discovered and an estimated 300 undiscovered archeological sites within the
- The burn has created a high risk of floods and debris flows within and
downstream of the burn area which should persist for the next three years.
This heightened risk was caused by relatively moderate to high burn
intensities, hydrophobic soils, step slopes, relatively high stored sediment
loads, and complete ground and canopy removal over much of the area.
- There is a heightened risk of flood and debris flow damage to cultural
resource sites within and downstream of the burned area.
- There is a heightened risk of fire-generated floods and debris flows
impacting on downstream park neighbors and fisheries.
The team has identified and requested immediate emergency fire
rehabilitation funding for the following, in addition to safety repairs of
facilities and infrastructure:
- A cultural resource damage assessment and analysis of watershed
treatments to protect the documented sites within the burn area, including
27 cliff dwellings, kiva complexes, reservoirs, check dams, terraces,
ceremonial areas, burials and sherd concentrations.
- A cultural resource damage assessment of the 75 or so previously
undocumented sites impacted by fire suppression actions.
- A damage assessment and documentation of impacts to rock art by a rock
conservator and rock art documentation specialist for a large Anasazi panel
severely damaged by the fire.
Other priority safety and resource actions proposed include:
- Installation of flood hazard signs at all access points to canyons at
risk for fire-related floods and debris flows.
- Notification of downstream park neighbors of the potential for same.
- Completion of a geo-hazard analysis of potential earth movements
resulting from stream bank cutting generated by fire-related floods and
- Installation of straw bale check dams to reduce down-cutting and keep
stored sediment loads from entering flood flows at appropriate upper
- Monitoring of vegetation recovery, including two park and state
sensitive plants to determine if additional management actions are required.