Arizona archaeologists (professional and avocational): Please contribute your expetise because we need your help! As you head down the highway to your next meeting or assignment, please take an extra few minutes, swing over to that alternate route, use you clipboard and your camera, and record a historical marker. For more information, contact Vicki Erhart and look at:

HOPI WEDDING TRADITIONS SURVIVE ONE MORE GENERATION 01/24/99 The bride walked up the hill, barefoot in the dusty driveway, wearing a manta, the black one-shoulder dress of the Hopi maiden. Her eyes downcast, Delight was beautiful, dignified, somber; a modern woman following an ancient tradition. She carried a basket of blue corn meal tied in a cloth. With her were her two daughters, Mariah, 3, and Miranda, 5, and her female relatives. Delight Dalton and Frank Poocha grew up on the Hopi reservation. She is from the most traditional area, Third Mesa, and speaks the Hopi language. Frank's mother is Pima and his father is Hopi. ``I have three brothers, and for a long time my dad wanted us to have Hopi weddings, to keep the tradition alive,'' Frank said. When Frank's father died, he left each son a cow for their weddings. But there were to be no Hopi weddings for Frank's brothers; they all married Navajos and didn't have the ceremony. When Frank and Dee were joined in a civil marriage at Phoenix City Hall a year ago, Frank's mom gave them a dinner. Dee's family arrived with multiple truckloads of food, in the traditional way. And the two families began planning the wedding Frank's late father wanted. Delight, 35, and Frank, 34, live in central Phoenix and have been together for six years. So why a Hopi wedding? ``It's good for us,'' said Frank, a Native American musician. ``We are in that era where our culture is the connecting link. Either we learn and continue the religion, or it's gone.'' The realization makes him feel almost desperate, he added. Just in their parents' generation, Frank said, many of the traditions have been lost. He said the next two generations are crucial. ``We grew up on the reservation doing all the things little Hopi boys and girls do. But now we have to teach our little kids how to be as Hopi as they can, trying to teach them a way of life.'' Frank and Delight's wedding was part of the teaching, and it involved many family members. Once the couple agreed to the wedding, they had little say in it. Almost every weekend for a year, they made the five-hour trip from Phoenix to Hopiland, helping get ready. The work seems endless. ``We more or less have to prove that our family is worthy of having him,'' Delight said of the massive food exchanges that are central to Hopi weddings. ``In Hopi tradition, when the man gets married, he belongs to me.'' 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. The ceremonial parts of a Hopi wedding usually last at least a week. This one was compressed into three days over a long weekend. On Friday afternoon, the arrival of the bride at the home of the groom's mother was the first major event of the Hopi wedding. In procession behind the bride were a line of 20 pickup trucks stretching down the highway. The bride and daughters entered her mother-in-law's home and were seated to one side. The house, a double-wide mobile home in the shadow of First Mesa, had been cleared of almost all furnishings in anticipation of the arrival of the bride's family from Hotevilla, on Third Mesa. Delight's family was ready to pay for Frank. Her family paid two years' worth of corn harvest to Frank's family, and there is more to come to pay off the debt of her robes. ``We think it'll take three years,'' said Delight's sister, Lynn Nuvamsa, who was one of the family members who kept track of donations. ``We're shooting for a year and a half.'' Thus do Hopi weddings stretch backward and forward in time, forming a complex web of obligatory preparation and payback. Unloaded from the trucks were piki bread, the traditional tissue-like bread of the Hopis, ten 30-gallon barrels of blue corn meal and white flour. With each item that came into the house, the men said, ``Kwa kwai,'' and the women said, ``Askwali.'' Both expressions mean ``thank you.'' Last were the baked goods, a boggling array of cakes, pies, yeast breads, cookies, doughnuts, brownies, quick breads. The food was Delight's dowry, donated by her immediate family and clan family members. It would be divided up among Frank's family members who helped with the wedding. Delight was now me-we, the in-law. She had been accepted by Frank's family. 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. At least 12 sheep died for this wedding, plus a cow left by Frank's dad. After the unloading and stacking the first evening, Friday, the big meals commenced. Behind the house, 20 feet of cooking fires and a windbreak had been set up. A fire pit was dug, and an outdoor kitchen constructed. On Saturday morning, Frank and Delight and the girls knelt in the living room over tubs of warm water to have their hair symbolically washed. The water was saved to take back to Hotevilla, where Delight's mom used it to mop the floors, a symbolic marking of the space. Frank had a brief, chilly ritual bath on the front porch in a washtub, and after it, Delight's mom gave him a blanket. Accompanied by their mothers, Delight and Frank walked toward the sunrise and tossed cornmeal, an offering with a prayer to the sun. Delight and her daughters had a final ceremonial hair washing Sunday morning. Then, sheets were spread on the floor for the dressing of the bride. Delight wore her black dress. Over their little-girl clothes, Mandy and Mariah were dressed in long-sleeved dresses made for the occasion. Over the dresses the girls wore their own black mantas, one-shoulder maiden dresses secured with a red, woven belt that had to be wrapped and tucked a certain way. Then it was time to don the ovah, the white wool blankets, with tassels on the corners to represent corn and fertility. Prayer feathers had been attached in the kiva. Delight explained before the wedding that the robes were ``my ticket to heaven.'' They have a dual purpose: The robes that the Hopi bride wears at her wedding will someday serve as her shroud. When Delight and the girls were dressed, they were seated with Frank in a row of chairs. Delight then made a thank-you speech, her poise cracking for the first time. ``Askwali,'' she started. Then she said in Hopi, ``I want to thank everyone who has labored very hard in order for this to happen, and because of that, we are very happy. We are finishing beautifully.''

DIGGING IS FUN, BUT FOSSIL HUNTER RELISHES LAB TIME, TOO 01/24/99 Paleontologist John Hoganson delights in the dig, but North Dakota's long winters leave only a brief period for fossil excavations. ``When the snow flies, we're pretty much shut down,'' Hoganson says. Outside, that is. Inside, the fossil hunter fills the harsh months with research and writing. He prepares exhibits and guards against aggressive fossil poachers. He also whiles away the winter months examining the last summer's finds. ``These are a very important part of our job here: to bring this information before the public,'' says Hoganson, who has worked for 17 years for the North Dakota Geological Survey. While mining for fossils in western North Dakota's badlands smacks of high adventure, it's in the lab where Hoganson relishes the scientific dimension of his job. ``I really like it all,'' Hoganson says. ``This area is very important from a scientific perspective because it has some rocks that are exposed that contain fossils that aren't found very many places anywhere else.'' Some of the best finds in recent years have included the fairly complete fossilized remains of a young triceratops from 65 million years ago, giant crocodiles from 55 million years ago and a 75-million-year-old marine lizard known as a mosasaur. Hoganson says he only gets about two months of digging time a year. When chilly winds start to blow across the prairie, Hoganson retreats to work amid dusty old drawers and cabinets in North Dakota's Heritage Center. Inside his basement lab, prized finds are stretched out on tables. These days, Hoganson is still aglow over what he calls North Dakota's most important find so far: a mosasaur. Hoganson says it's the first one of its kind found anywhere in the world. A plumber and an electrician uncovered it in 1995, in Cooperstown, N.D. Hoganson and his assistant, John Campbell, are still piecing it together. The finding plunged Hoganson into one of the time-consuming tasks that occupies him during the winter months. He took measurements, cleaned the specimen, snapped photos and wrote articles for scientists and laymen. He gathers the information in a state fossil database, which contains details on thousands of specimens unearthed in North Dakota. ``If you just have a fossil and you don't have any of that information, the fossil becomes nothing more than a curiosity rather than an important scientific object,'' he says. Hoganson, who is 50, earned his doctorate at the University of North Dakota in geology with an emphasis on paleontology. He holds a master's in geology from the University of Florida. Also at the Heritage Center, Hoganson organizes exhibits and outreach groups throughout the state. The paleontologist turns teacher, hoping to spark the light of scientific inquiry in the minds of children. ``It's really rewarding to see these kids' eyes really sparkle when you have the Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth that's found 20 miles from Bismarck, and that's in their hand,'' he says. Not long ago, a North Dakotan would have to travel to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington to see prehistoric fossils on display. Now, there are several exhibits throughout the state. North Dakota made a commitment to preserving its wealth of fossils in 1989, when the legislature passed a fossil protection law. Through a permit process, Hoganson helps regulate who digs for what on public land. Any fossil found on public land belongs to the state. He has helped form agreements with federal agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers, so that the state will work with them on fossils found on federal land in North Dakota. But fossils found on private property belong to the landowner. That's problematic because of the market value of some fossils as hard times in agriculture continue, Hoganson says. Commercial contractors have been making deals with landowners to remove fossils from the state. ``You can't blame these people, but it's creating problems for us, I think, and we're losing those specimens from the state,'' he says. Hoganson says the state got lucky with the mosasaur, which was discovered on private land but donated to the state by the landowner. ``I think that the awareness of our fossil resources has increased dramatically since this Bismarck-based program was initiated in 1989,'' he says. ``We think we've done quite a bit in the last ten years, and we hope to do a lot more in the next 10 years.'' Through the Innovation Network, researchers have access to an archive of more than 2,800 case studies of outstanding uses of information technology, as well as oral histories transcripts, proceedings of symposia, and other research materials.,1249,30008115,00.html? A cloudy photo of a 19th-century Alta silver miner leaving his hut with a pair of wooden skis is something of a town icon for Alta residents. The old-timer may be dressed for mining but is undoubtedly a ski bum at heart. The shot aptly captures the segue between Alta's dual history of mining and skiing. Now the Alta Historical Society hopes a recently published brochure will help residents and visitors alike appreciate and enjoy the tiny town's rich past. "Alta: One Place, Two Histories" includes a historical time line replete with photos and witty captions. Brochure requests can be made by calling 742-3522 or 363-5105.,1113,61622,00.html Tony R. Rocha has joined the staff at Castle Air Museum as curator. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida and is working on a master's degree in historical archaeology from California State University, Stanislaus. He was a member of the Air Force ROTC, and has been an F-84 crew chief volunteer at Castle since 1994. Wild munchies: Break free from the bonds of grocery bags and corner stores. Learn about American Indian, early settler and contemporary uses of wild plants and prepare wild food meals on site in the Santa Monica Mountains in a class on "Discovering Edible Wild Plants." The first of three Saturday sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Maps to class locations are provided upon registration. The program is $45, plus a $1 materials fee. To register call the Culver City Adult School, 4401 Elenda St., at (310) 842-4300. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum proposed expansion is planned in phases over a seven-year period and will increase the total size of the museum from almost 34,000 square feet to more than 70,000 square feet.,1575,SAV-9901250038,00.html Nobody knows how long the peculiar wooden object, as big as a bus, has been sitting on the bottom of the old ship turning basin, just inside the lock that separates the Chicago River from Lake Michigan. The search has ended for valuable clues linking this southeast Volusia County area to attempts at starting a large new colony in the late 1700s. The government called it rural free delivery. So suddenly no matter where you live, in the most remote hills or hollers, you were entitled to get any mail, anybody wanted to send you, says cultural historian Cecelia Tichi. At the time, capitalism was beginning to arrive on the doorsteps of many Americans. Sears and Roebuck wanted you to have their Catalog, and a chance to see how the rest of the world was doing.,1249,30007887,00.html? Accidents of geography and animal and plant diversity, and not superior human genes, helped Europeans conquer much of the world, Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond argues that some simple twists of fate the layout of the continents and the distribution of tamable plant and animal species are what helped a few small groups expand and take over most of the planet. Human history is the result of environmental differences among the continents, Diamond told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For centuries, scores of these "land divers" have proven their manhood every April and May by leaping head first from makeshift wooden towers up to 100 feet high to be brought up a few inches short of the ground by flexible vines tied to their ankles. It's a religious and fertility rite to ensure a successful yam harvest. The chief's are standing fast, and Vanuatu's tour operators are now advising Pentecost-bound customers to leave all their cameras behind and just be content to watch. In 1995, Vanuatu's Culture Department canceled all land diving for a year to re-establish the ceremony's cultural worth after it had become overrun by tourists.