ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER ANCIENT FISH TRAPS NEAR SALTON SEA 01/26/99 Most of the granite fish traps crafted centuries ago by Desert Cahuilla Indians on the western fringes of the Salton Sea have been destroyed by gravel mining and farming, but a few remain and archaeologists want to save them. ``They're really a wonderful invention,'' said Jay von Werlhof, director of the planned Imperial Valley College Desert Museum in Ocotillo, adding that the traps hold valuable clues about how the Indians survived in the desert. More than 100 trap remnants are believed to cover a swath along state Route 86 by Salton City, about 160 miles east of San Diego. The New Mexico-based Archaeological Conservancy is hoping to raise $100,000 to buy 360 acres of private and public land where the traps were found and give it to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for preservation. So far, the group has raised about half the money, but it only has until March before its option on the property expires. Von Werlhof, a 76-year-old retired archaeology professor, has roamed the desert for years cataloging dozens of traps he's uncovered and worked to solve the mysteries behind the Indians who made them. ``No one taught them how to do it. They had to figure it out for themselves,'' he said. ``They show that these people were very adaptive to the challenges of their environment.'' Desert Cahuilla Indians made hundreds of the traps on the shoreline of the now-dry Lake Cahuilla to catch mullet, humpback chub and bonytail. The lake formed in 700 A.D. when the Colorado River changed course and inundated huge stretches of the Imperial and Coachella valleys. When flood waters forced many Indians from their Coachella Valley homes, several hundred are believed to have settled near the freshwater lake at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Because the Indians had likely never seen a lake, they had no experience at fishing, von Werlhof said. They then taught themselves how to fish, fashioning bowling ball-size rocks into V-or U-shapes with open-ended tips in the shallows. Working in teams, they herded fish into 10-foot-long weirs. ``They would scare the fish, which would scoot through the opening,'' von Werlhof said. The Indians would then close off the gap with a boulder and scoop up the fish. The lake evaporated sometime after 1500, when the Colorado River again altered its course. The Cahuilla are believed to have abandoned the area and returned to the foothills. The creations they left behind, though, represent more than just discarded tools, said Lynn Dunbar, who directs the conservancy's western office in Sacramento. ``These people had to develop new ways of living off that land,'' Dunbar said. ``When you have that kind of change in the way people go about dealing with their environment, what they leave behind is a record of more than just what they left behind, but the way they were thinking.'',1249,30008327,00.html? The coroner brought a white bucket to James Chatters. It contained bones -- Long-headed person, prominent nose probably non-native American, a white settler. The reconstructed face looks like the actor Patrick Stewart. A spear point embedded in the pelvis must have been hurled by an atlatl. Dated by radiocarbon techniques, the skeleton turned out to be one of the oldest ever discovered in North America, between 9,265 and 9,535 years old.,1249,30008261,00.html? Daynes was looking for a project that would help students get to know their community and help them find ways to learn about history besides reading a book -- a hands-on experience being a historian, both the joys and frustrations. He also wanted to generate information that would be of value to people other than historians. By the end of the semester, the class created a historical archive and online museum of the parish. The St. Francis project has been such a resounding success, Daynes said, BYU will offer a public history class for the first time next fall. One of the tasks will be chronicling the history and disappearance of orchards in Utah County. Hydraulic mining reached such a peak that it became one of the first environmental issues in the United States. Silt and dirt from the mines was carried by rivers and streams into the rich farmland of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, clogging waterways and silting up irrigation canals. The silt even muddied San Francisco Bay. Hydraulic mining was outlawed in 1884. The story of this country, the coal mine, and a group of Navajo families is a morality play of the American Southwest - one rooted, as is often the case in this part of the country, in a pitched battle over how to use the land. "This story encompasses every key dynamic of the postwar West - cultural change, redistribution of wealth and power, transition from agrarian to industrial society, limited resource bases, and questionable futures," says historian Catherine Feher-Elston. Consider the severity of the situation -- a tradeoff between a species going extinct and a maintenance yard in Cloudcroft, NM. n the latest wave of communities looking to protect themselves against encroaching cities, the residents of Sombrillo, near Espaņola, are considering the state designation of traditional historic community. An Albuquerque legislator wants the state to acquire one of the country's largest collections of Hispanic santos. It includes about 400 pieces and represents the work of Spanish Colonial and Mexican religious artists from the 18th century through 1907. Called santeros, the artists made religious images for churches, chapels and homes when New Mexico was a frontier of Spain and later of Mexico. The tradition declined in the late 19th century, but has enjoyed a revival in recent years. Three finalists for director of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington are scheduled for interviews and campus visits beginning next week. The candidates are Alejandro Lugo, an anthropology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign; Roberto Treviņo, a history professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; and Manuel Garcia y Griego, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine. The Paleolithic Archaeology of the Gobi Desert ( John Olsen/UofA ).

[ SASIG Ed. Note -- The next two articles describing civil engineering fertility rites indicate the connective insights of an Applied Anthropologist in a Department of Transportation. The third article is a royal flush for civil engineering history. ] Lawmaker takes the plunge with bungee-jumping bill Study would determine the feasibility of bungee-jumping from the Rio Grande Gorge bridge By KAREN PETERSON The New Mexican Some legislators say the state isn't getting its money's worth from the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. They want the state Highway and Transportation Department to study the feasibility of allowing people to pay to bungee-jump from the bridge on U.S. 84 west of Taos. Rep. Arthur Hawkins, R-Albuquerque, who introduced a bill mandating the study, said he got the idea on a recent visit to South Africa, where he saw people "lined up 12 deep and ready to pay $75 each" to jump from a bridge not nearly as high or as spectacular as the bridge over the gorge. Hundreds more people were clustered around to watch. Hawkins called the gorge bridge "an ideal promontory" for bungee-jumping. "I thought, we've got a world-class bridge that's underutilized," Hawkins said. "It can put New Mexico on the world map for adventure tourism." Hawkins said he envisioned that the state would get a cut of the fees a commercial bungee-jumping operation would charge. "After all, it's a public bridge," he said. The idea of thrill seekers - and crowds who want to watch them - choking the bridge over the spectacular gorge caused consternation among some area residents, however. "It's outlandish," said Ernie Atencio, spokesman for Amigos Bravos, a river advocacy group. Atencio said commercial development and tourism already are beginning to affect the unspoiled areas of the river. "If you have rafters floating below and bungee jumpers from above, how can you have a peaceful moment to fish?" he said. Rep. Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales, D-Taos, who cosponsored the bill, said he was a little stunned when Hawkins approached him before the House floor session Tuesday. The first thing he thought of, Gonzales said, was the slaying of Espaņola teen-ager Erik Sanchez, who was allegedly hurled from the bridge by carjackers last month. "I thought it might be a little too soon to be talking about bungee-jumping," Gonzales said. "But this is just a study. It's not going to happen right away." John Fenner, adjutant secretary of the state Highway and Transportation Department, said any study by the department would have to take into consideration how bungee-jumping would affect the structural soundness of the bridge, as well as the safety of motorists. also not sure we own the airspace between the bridge and the river," Fenner said. 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. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets,, is a virtual shrine to one of the most widely used and probably most underappreciated devices around. This site takes a sober and sentimental look at the history of the toilet.