DEITIES SAID TO DEMAND NAVAJO ZOO RELEASE ITS CAPTIVES 01/08/99 Navajo Zoo officials fear the result if the animals are released in response to reported warnings by mystical deities said to be disturbed by the animals' captivity. "People who are saying that we should just release the animals just don't realize what the consequences of that action will have,'' director Lolene Hathaway said Thursday. The zoo established 36 years ago includes such reservation animals as bears, coyotes, snakes and elk. Hathaway said most would die if released into the wild, some such as an eagle with a broken wing _ because they lacked the ability to do survive and others because they wouldn't know how to hunt for themselves. "I am sure that animal rights groups and officials for the USDA would be appalled to hear about this,'' she said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture handles animal rights issues. Traditionalists have objected to the zoo for years, saying that imprisoning sacred animals _ such as the coyote, bear and golden eagle _ violates Navajo beliefs. The current push is a result of reports that traditional tribal deities visited the remote community of Rocky Ridge on Dec. 26 and reportedly expressed displeasure over the continued caging of animals. Gerri Harrison, legal counsel to Navajo Nation President Milton Bluehouse, confirmed on Thursday that Rocky Ridge residents had informed the tribe of the deities' Dec. 26 return. Tribal officials were told the deities again urged Navajos to return to traditional ways and mentioned the imprisonment of animals at the zoo. Medicine men and tribal officials were to meet today to discuss the release issue. Harrison said that if it is decided to give the animals their freedom, the medicine men would conduct a special ceremony to protect the animals in the wild. Navajo deities are spirit beings _ there are 20 or so _ that control whether a Navajo is in harmony with nature. Traditional Navajos believe bad things will happen if deities are displeased. In 1996, two Navajo women in Rocky Ridge said they were visited by two Navajo deities that were upset because Navajos no longer were praying to them or following the traditional ways. Thousands of Navajos visited the community after that sighting, leaving corn pollen and saying prayers. A number of tribal leaders also visited, including then-President Albert Hale, who urged the government's 5,000 Navajo employees to visit the site and gave them time off to do so. Martin Link, who created the zoo in 1963 after a bear cub was donated to the tribe, said he never saw any opposition from tribal traditionalists during the 17 years he headed the zoo and the tribal museum. ``Traditionalists would come in and offer prayers to certain animals, primarily the bear, coyotes and the eagles,'' he said. Link said they also visited the zoo three or four times a year in preparation for the Coyote Way ceremony, a healing ritual using corn pollen that had been in a coyote's mouth.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND STOPS PARK-AND-RIDE EXPANSION PLANS 01/09/99 The state will abandon plans to expand a park-and-ride lot in Parsippany because of its value as a landmark of Colonial history. The expansion at the site between Routes 46 and 80 off South Beverwyck Road was supposed to start in the summer of 1997, but was stopped when the historical significance of the site was disclosed. Since then, the state has spent $1.3 million on an archaeological dig, turning up 20,000 artifacts from the property, once part of a plantation where elite American colonists and British Loyalists visited during the American Revolution, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported for Saturday's editions. Several hundred of the artifacts are significant, said John Dourgarian, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. ``In this agency's 30-year history, this may be the most significant archaeological site we've ever encountered,'' he said. A fire in 1803 destroyed the original mansion and slave cabins on the 2,000-acre site, and buried ceramic dishes, ivory toothbrushes, and coins in the basements. A bag of grain and a ceramic jug were found intact. Artifacts of slavery were also found, including rusted slave shackles. ``The fire inadvertently created a time capsule of everyday artifacts which provides a rare, undisturbed, detailed archaeological record of rural agricultural lifestyle in Colonial New Jersey,'' said Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, R-Morris, chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee. He said the DOT will fill in the excavations and plant grass on the property rather than continue the dig. The state Historic Preservation Office will apply for the site to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. State highway workers still have a mystery on their hands with the discovery of 31 graves under a rural intersection just north of Brownsville. Because the graves were found only a few miles from the site of the battle of Palo Alto, fought May 8, 1846, as the first engagement in the United States' war with Mexico, local historians theorized that the graves may contain bodies of Mexican soldiers. transportation department archaeologists, however, said there are no indications the graves Date back any further than the 1920s and may be the remains of a private family cemetery. Astronomers are intrigued by a set of cave paintings discovered on the island of Guam in the Pacific. Native American petroglyphs near Paint Rock, Texas, were created so that sunlight would fall on specific figures on the winter and summer solstices, a University of Texas astronomer thinks. Whatever the meaning, it's carved in stone. But 20th century science has never been able to translate the meticulous heroglyphics etched on 13 ancient rock tablets excavated from Ohio's woodlands over the last 150 years. Museums Experiment With New Exhibition Strategies.