NAVAJOS SEEKING RETURN OF SACRED FIGURINES AGAIN 01/16/99 The Navajo Nation is having a hard time getting back the sacred figurines that Arizona State Museum returned two years. At the time, Albert Hale was president. Forced to resign since then under threat of prosecution for alleged ethics violations, he now has set up a law practice in Albuquerque _ and apparently still has the figurines. Asked about that last week, Hale said he couldn't comment. Kelsey Begaye, a former tribal council speaker who had been appointed president for a single day when Hale successor Thomas Atcitty was removed from office in August, recently was inaugurated as the tribe's new president, Tribal officials had sought return of the figurines in time for that ceremony. Hale said he couldn't do so until a ceremony was held for a new caretaker. Begaye said he has spoken with Hale and that Hale suggested he undergo such a ceremony. Begaye said Hale promised to return the figurines once such a ceremony is scheduled. The two sets of figurines, 5-inch stone statutes wrapped in yarn, disappeared about 1935. Museum officials told the tribe in 1997 that the figures had been in the museum's possession since 1942 and then returned them to the tribe. Two days of ceremonies to welcome the sacred stones home drew hundreds of Navajos at the time.

AUSTRIANS FIND OLDEST WATER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM IN NILE DELTA 01/15/99 Austrian archaeologists excavating in the Nile Delta have discovered a 3,500-year-old water distribution system _ the oldest ever found in Egypt. Manfred Bietak, chairman of the Austrian Institute for Egyptology, announced Friday that the system, complete with pipes, was uncovered beneath the royal citadel of the 18th Dynasty near Tell El-Daba'a in the eastern delta. Beneath the 18th Dynasty ruins, the archaeologists located an older fortress, believed constructed by the Hyksos, Asian warriors who overran Egypt around 1720 B.C. And the water system was discovered under the Hyksos fortress. Bietak said the team is convinced that the system was used to distribute drinking water. He said it probably brought drinking water to a palace that has not yet been discovered. The ceremonial parts of a Hopi wedding usually last at least a week. Massive food exchanges are central to Hopi weddings. By tradition, during the opening part of the wedding, the bride grinds corn at her mother-in-law's home while the men weave her wedding robes in the kiva. Corn is sacred to the Hopis. In a Hopi wedding, the bride's family brings the hearth-oriented goods, showing their prowess as homemakers with huge amounts of flour, cornmeal, baked goods. The groom's family takes back to her village the supplies a hunter would bring: meat, firewood, clothing, groceries. A full-color, illustrated 32-page booklet and a full-color poster depicting the history of mining in Bisbee from 1877 to 1996 have been published. You can order it by contacting Free Geos Library, P.O. Box 637, Marana, AZ 85653 or call (520) 602-4121. Spur Cross Ranch contains the last free-flowing riparian stream in Maricopa County, a large stand of saguaro cactus, ancient Hopi burial sites, many petroglyphs and nearly 500 surface pueblo and pit house sites dating back to 500 AD. Fifty-three sites at Spur Cross Ranch have been nominated to the national Historic Registry. General George Crook came to the Arizona Territory in 1871 to take Native Americans as prisoners of war and place them on reservations. The Park Service has the unenviable job of trying to meet tourists' demands and residents' needs in and around national monuments, while at the same time preserving the ecological and cultural resources that the monuments were established to protect in the first place. Protecting the state's wealth of archaeological and historic sites is an important job with too few workers, said Kingman-based Bureau of Land Management (BLM) archaeologist John Rose. That's why the BLM statewide is looking for help in the form of volunteers to join the Arizona Site Steward program. Stewards volunteer their time to monitor the condition of recorded sites and to record new sites. To sign up for the session contact John Rose at 692-4400. The historic county courthouse is one of several county buildings targeted for abandonment by the county in a long-term facilities plan. The Yuma Territorial Prison, once commonly referred to as the Hellhole of Arizona, opened in 1876 and housed more than 3,000 men and women before closing in 1909. More than 100 of those prisoners died while incarcerated at the prison, and today visitors can see their cemetery just beyond the prison. The site opened in 1961 as a state historical park. Was anyone around 225 million years ago to hear the pine-like trees of the Petrified Forest National Park fall to the ground? Two rarely toured missions - Calabazas and Guevavi - are open to the public through April 28. Though decades of neglect have left both missions in ruins, their historic importance remains. They are part of Tumacacori National Historical Park, but are fenced and normally closed to the public except by special arrangement. By surveying old stumps, snags and remaining older pine trees, the report estimates in 1870 there were five to 25 trees per acre in the denser areas of the forest while open meadows and savannahs interspersed throughout the area had up to 10 trees per acre. By the 1890s the area had been heavily overgrazed, first by sheep then cattle. human skeletons stored at universities and museums around South Africa are at the centre of a bitter row between traditional leaders demanding the bones be laid to rest and academics who want them for research.