Monday December 20, 1999

OREGON Irish arborglyphs tend to be poetic and humorous, in contrast to the simple Basque carvings. The project was financed by a $600 grant from the Oregon Archaeological Society. The city hired a Colorado archaeology firm and trusted it to follow the rules. But what stunned authorities, is what happened next. Gordon Tucker loaded remains into his pickup and trundled them to Denver, allegedly without notifying anyone. When the State Office of Historic Preservation and the federal Rural Development agency learned remains had been trucked to Colorado, they immediately shut down Blaine's $7.6 million project. Tucker now works for another Colorado-based archaeology firm and isn't talking to the media. "This is sensitive business," said Rebecca Balcom, a principal in Golder's Calgary offices.

CALIFORNIA California officials have slapped a stop-work order on a fiber optic cable, saying the project may be threatening traditional Indian burial grounds. While the construction crew was operating several blocks from the grave site itself, state officials generally consider such areas to be surrounded by a "sensitive area" of up to half a mile. Upgrade plans within the intensely competitive telecommunications industry could lead to more environmental and historical sites being endangered by unsupervised construction. To some, the concrete and river-rock pillars and concrete pad are nothing special. But to others, Caltrans included, the ruins are special and something to be preserved. Started in 1914 as a model socialist community, Llano del Rio withered by 1918. In May, Caltrans archaeologist Thad Van Buren, headed up an archaeological team that spent 10 days at Llano del Rio, mapping the site and doing small excavations within Caltrans' right-of-way.

NEW MEXICO The practice of lighting diminutive candles, nestled in sand inside a paper bag -- luminarias, or farolitos in the north -- is steeped in a very distinctive New Mexican heritage as far back as 1626 according to Spanish historian Fray Alonzo Benavidez. But, the square-bottom paper bag dates back only to the mid 1820s. Thanks to a $20,000 grant, preservation will be possible for a portion of the Navajo ancestral homeland located southeast of Bloomfield in Gobernador and Largo Canyons. Larry Baker, executive director of Salmon Ruins Museum, received a check Dec. 13 from the foundation for Williams Companies Inc. The ancient homesites date to the early Navajo occupation of the region, most of which Baker said were constructed between 1696 and 1775.

CYBERIA An examination conducted for the Minnesota Department of Transportation indicated the tree was 137 years old, not old enough for it to have been used for American Indian burial platforms. "We were told this by our elders, but they may have meant that the trees were planted later to mark the area used for burials," said Jim Anderson, cultural chairman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. Crews cut down the four trees on Saturday, ending a 16-month standoff with a band of protesters that included Indian and environmental activists. Archaeologists say no burial remains have ever been found in the disputed area near Minnehaha Park. Student Bootstraps Antiquities Into a Net Business, following an established ecommerce model, aggregating a group of distant sellers in a fragmented market and offering them a new marketplace to sell their wares. The buyers in turn were an upscale audience new to collecting. Kost has sold about $89,000 in goods, expanding into Greek, Roman and pre-Colombian items.