Got CALICHE? Wednesday December 8, 1999 Why do people become archaeologists?

UTAH A $1 million visitor center and related improvements are in the works for Hovenweep National Monument.

ARIZONA The Mesa Southwest Museum spent the last week putting together a Camarasaurus for a new dinosaur wing that will open in May. The Ak-Chin tribe participates in the United States' first EcoMuseum. An EcoMuseum is distinguished from a conventional museum as land and territory replace museum buildings. This museum acts as an exhibit and storage area for prehistoric local artifacts owned by tribal families. The tribes are noted for their basketry.

NEW MEXICO In New Mexico and Arizona, there are Anglos who practice the peyote way. An occasional non-Indian can be seen inside prayer meetings on the Navajo Nation, too. So, Navajo lawmakers must decide how strict the law will be for those people, including non-Indian spouses of Indians.

MEXICO When Susana Valadez traveled from Los Angeles to the remote Sierra Madre Mountains of north central Mexico in 1975, she found the Huichol on the brink of economic extinction. A UCLA graduate student in anthropology at the time, she believed she could help revitalize the tribe's economy through its jewelry-making tradition. Profits from the jewelry have provided improved health care, education and food for the Huichol. These are heady times for those who study the great Mesoamerican civilization of the Maya.

[Editor note: anyone know if 'seven' is a lucky number in Mayan cosmology...?] Classic Maya pottery was a subject of highbrow discussion until Michael Coe came across an enigmatic image on vases buried with Maya elite. Coe found an enema pot, one which depicts seven enemas under way: Seven males are bending over while seven females wield bulbous syringes. Spanish conquerors writing in the early 1500s had reported the relish with which the Maya engaged in what the Spanish considered a bizarre ritual: intoxicating enemas.

CYBERIA Computer game archaeologist Lara Croft is pitted against ancient forces in Egypt as she maneuvers through ancient tombs fending off the... er... enemy. The Park Service is asking visitors to the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields to watch for anyone oiling up their old statues. The Hazelwood museum is filled with tribute to Jesuit missionaries who brought Christianity to the American Indians of the high plains and central Rockies. One thousand years ago, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, the ancient civilization of Cahokia flourished. In May 1954, Roland Braun turned up more than 200 skeletons heaped in a shallow pit. The bones are waiting for anthropologists of another time to ponder their mysteries. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is perhaps the most complex and misunderstood issue facing American archaeology today.