MEXICO In a particular year One Reed - 1519 by the Gregorian calendaria band of strangers beached their ships after an arduous voyage across the wide ocean. Their leader had fair skin, exuberantly long hair, and (most remarkably to the bare-chinned populace) a flowing black beard. Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, later known as Montezuma II, king of the mightiest empire on two continents, reverently opened the doors of his palace to the conquistador Hernando CortÚs. How blessed, he thought, to welcome Feathered Serpent home again at last.,2107,84283-133194-929633-0,00.html A drunken, off-duty policeman on Friday crashed through the gates protecting Templo Mayor - one of Mexico's most precious archaeological sites - and landed atop an ancient Aztec pyramid, Mexican officials said. The National Archaeological Institute said the accident caused irreparable damage to the pyramid, but did not elaborate.

CALIFORNIA The Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce will host the 7th Annual Donner Party Hike October 9-10, 1999. Participants will learn historical highlights about pioneer plights as they trek the rugged Sierra terrain. A slide show will be given by Albert Knight about petroglyphs -- prehistoric rock carvings -- in the Los Angeles area. Native American Chumash and Gabrielino Indians have been invited to share in this presentation. Albert Knight is working in the field of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and is doing field work in the Santa Monica Mountains under a national parks contract to search for archaeological sites. The remains, including human skulls, were found buried near other artifacts, including arrowheads, lead musket balls, two forged ax heads, an abalone shell button, an 1853 silver coin and thousands of european glass trading beads. archaeologists have estimated the human remains date back to the mid-1800s.

ARIZONA P.T. Reilly was 75 by the time he finished his mammoth history of Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River, a tiny Mormon outpost that for half a century provided the only reliable crossing for a hundred miles. When Reilly died in 1996, Robert Webb was asked by the University of Utah Press to edit the manuscript. The result is Lee's Ferry: From Mormon Crossing to National Park, published in June. A federal law banning the sale of "Native American cultural items" was upheld Friday by a federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an Arizona man who sold Hopi masks and robes from the Pueblo of Acoma to an undercover agent. Rodney Tidwell of Phoenix was charged in 1995 after the agent bought or tried to buy 14 masks and a set of priest robes. Ernest Chapella, who provided the masks to Tidwell from the Hopi, was also charged in the case but committed suicide.

COLORADO Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt says more protection for cultural resources in southwestern Colorado doesn't necessarily mean excluding current uses of the public land. Declaring the area a national monument might be the only way to preserve the artifcats and ruins. In his own words, Gordon Bronitsky books Native American entertainment and cultural events overseas.

CYBERIA Students in Roberta Speer's American Archaeology class at West Texas A&M University this fall will dwell on recent discoveries that seem to indicate humankind's early beginnings in America are far more complex and may include people of Asian, African and even European descent. They didn't have garbage collection back then, they just threw everything out the back door. The boom in road construction -- and development in general -- is driving much of the cultural research that is being conducted throughout the country, Spohn said. State, federal and local laws frequently require research on historic properties and archaeological resources before construction projects can be approved. Archaeologists expect to find more skeletal bones among dirt excavated from Blaine's waste-water treatment plant. Archaeologists need to dig a little deeper beneath tombstone found in the basement of a 249-year-old farmehouse. About 100 members of the Society for Commercial Archeology met this weekend in Ohio's capital to share their passion for preserving familiar and forgotten monuments to American culture, especially the gaudy ones. Mongolia is one of the world's great places for dinosaurs. But now scientists must compete with raiders for first crack at The valuable finds. Jeffrey P. Donnelly is a student of prehistoric bad weather. In just three years, he has stitched together a 600-year history of big East Coast hurricanes that is already improving the ability of scientists to predict when the next big one will strike. Comparative religion -- You are a solitary pilgrim wandering the desert in search of enlightenment when you come across a serpent that begs you to kill it so that it may be born into a higher incarnation. What do you do? Kill it and BOOM! -- you're sent off to the fifth Buddhist Hell for interfering with another being's karmic burden.