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FORGER OF MEXICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL PIECES NOW A RESPECTABLE ARTIST 05/01/99 JALAPA, Mexico (AP) _ Twenty-five years after he was sent to jail for trafficking in archaeological treasures _ and was released after proving they were his own forgeries _ Brigido Lara is now legit. While his ceramic pieces once had to be removed from U.S. museums when they were exposed as fakes, they are now selling briskly to galleries and private collectors, stamped with an official seal proclaiming them "authentic reproductions." "Life is beautiful and one has to live it fully," Lara, 58, said in the shed he uses as a studio on the outskirts of Jalapa, 170 miles (270 kilometers) east of Mexico City on the Gulf of Mexico. "Maybe the ancient Totonaca god of fortune, Tlataele, has protected me." Lara's statuettes are copies of Totonaca Indian artifacts depicting gods and devils, warriors and pregnant women. He said a few museums buy his work, but he sells mostly to private collectors and galleries. Right now he says he has a backlog of orders from art galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Miami. His pieces go from dlrs 100 for a little clay figure of the Smiling Warrior to dlrs 4,000 for reproductions of Tlaloc, the bespectacled God of Rain, and Mictlantecuhtli, the grinning Lord of the Underworld. He can fetch even more for a near-lifesize figure of Tlasoteotl, the goddess of women who die in childbirth. His pieces sold equally briskly back in the 1970s _ but not as legitimately. In 1974 Lara was arrested along with several of his cousins for possessing and trafficking in archaeological treasures, a crime punishable by 10 years in prison. Lara insisted the pieces were copies he had made, but experts brought in by the judge insisted they were originals, probably raided from tombs. To prove them wrong, Lara secretly made three pieces in the jailyard. The judge handed those pieces to the same experts, who again insisted they were authentic. The judge thanked the experts and freed Lara. His case caused a stir at the time. Peddlers had sold and resold Lara's pieces as the real thing to clients including the late filmmaker John Houston, who was then living in Mexico. Houston, in turn, had sold several pieces to the 3,000-piece, multimillion-dollar Collection of Ancient American Art of John and Nora Wise _ who then donated them to the Dallas Museum. Several other museums, including the St. Louis Art Musuem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York had similar sculptures, which they also had to take down from public display. But Lara still bristles when called a forger. "They were not fakes," he said. "They were and still are my art. The dishonest ones are those who sold and resold and tried to make a dishonest business of it." Nonetheless, Lara calls the court case a blessing in disguise, because it helped him make the transition to a legitimate art business. Newspaper reports of the case caught the eye of Fernando Winfield Capitaine, then the director of the prestigious Jalapa Museum of Anthropology, and he hired Lara as the museum's chief restorer and evaluator. The National Anthropology and History Institute gave him a seal so he could stamp his pieces as legal. Lara started sculpting copies of ancient ceramics when he was 9 years old, one of 14 children of a poor farmer who moved from southern Oaxaca to Veracruz state, home of the Totonaca Indians. "Since I was very young, I tried to imagine what they used to sculpt their pieces _ brushes made from corn silk, a jagged stone, a fine twig, or how they fired them in primitive ovens with sugarcane bagasse and dried corn cobs," he said. "The clay comes from certain spots that I imagine the indigenous people used." Lara spends five hours in the mornings at his workshop in the basement of the museum, restoring and cleaning the museum's 29,000 pieces. After a quick lunch, he spends his afternoons and evenings in his studio, next to a waterfall he built in a corner of a one-acre plot of land up in the hills outside Jalapa. "I work for hours and hours on end," Lara said. "Time passes very quickly here."
http://www.amcity.com/dallas/stories/1999/05/03/story2.html The best-educated, wealthiest people in the world are the people who collect art and antiques," Kusin said. "These are the people who are the targets for all wealth-management business in this country. The purchasing of art and antiques is probably the defining consumer activity of the best-educated, wealthiest people in the world. We are providing a total, complete, beginning-to-end case history of how they function as consumers in this very high-end world." Kusin aims to meet that need with a book, "The Art Economy," scheduled for publication in early 2000. "It's going to be the defining treatise on the art economy," Kusin said. "And it will be updated every 18 months."
http://www.amarillonet.com/stories/050399/new_136-2483.002.shtml Organizations and individuals looking for funding to restore a historical building, build a bike trail or improve a shopping district may qualify for federal funding through the Texas Department of Transportation. Area projects that have received enhancement funds include the streetscape on Old Route 66 in Amarillo and restorations of the Santa Fe Building, Vega's Magnolia Street Gas Station and the Canadian River Wagon Bridge. Submissions of projects continue through Aug. 9, according to the release. For more information about the program, call Cheryl Luther at 356-3249.
http://www.abqjournal.com/health/1hea05-03.htm Hispanics of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, whose bloodlines from early conquistadores might carry a specific genetic aberration. This particular mutation came with the very early Spanish settlers to this region. They went up the (Rio Grande) valley and settled.
HISTORIC LIBRARY EXPANDS, ADDS SERVICES 05/02/99 Monte Vista's historic Carnegie Public Library is expanding for the first time since it was built in 80 years ago. The project began several years ago as an effort to make the library accessible to handicapped patrons, who could not negotiate the building's wide front stairs. The idea then was to install an elevator, but that would have altered the building's historic character under Colorado Historical Society guidelines. The library was listed on the Colorado and national registers of historic places in 1995. Library Director Carol Lee Dugan began applying for grants to renovate the library. Since 1995, the library has raised more than $800,000 and plans call for a 5,000-square-foot building that would be connected to the old one with a wide, two-level hallway. The new addition will complement the old building's style, Dugan said. It will include wide doorways, an elevator, a larger space for the Colorado archive collection, a large children's room with a stage and kitchen, and a 55-seat meeting room. A computer lab, restrooms and offices will also go into the new space. A growing number of patrons and the need for more services is driving the expansion project. Checkouts increased from 41,000 in 1997 to 62,000 in 1998, Dugan said. Dugan said library officials are hoping to have the project ready for bid soon.
http://www.chieftain.com/monday/n6.htm Restoration and rehabilitation of the Fort Francisco Museum here will continue this summer. The museum, owned and operated by the Huerfano County Historical Society, is housed in the original adobe plaza built in 1862 by Col. John M. Francisco and Judge Henry Daigre. An archaeologist will be on call throughout the renovation project so any artifacts found can be analyzed for historical significance.
http://www.durangoherald.com/1news443.htm First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to visit Mesa Verde National Park next month as part of a tour promoting America’s treasures.
http://wings.buffalo.edu/anthropology/Documents/lootbib.html The "Looting Question" Bibliography Provocatively subtitled "Web and Literary Resources on the Archaeological Politics of Private Collecting, Commercial Treasure Hunting, Looting, and 'Professional' Archaeology," this comprehensive online bibliography provides scholars and practitioners with resources related to the "looting question." The bibliography is organized by format type and focuses on North American materials. Hugh Jarvis, a doctoral candidate in Anthropology as well as a graduate student in Information and Library studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, has compiled this unique, frequently updated resource.
http://www.fs.fed.us/geology/picketwire.pdf Picketwire Dinosaur track restoration.
http://www.fs.fed.us/geology/powhatan.html The United States has assessed the total value of all the stolen vertebrate fossils to be $220,813. Sentencing is scheduled before Judge James R. Spencer for June 10, 1999, at 9:15 a.m. Hutchinson was released on bond pending sentencing.
http://www.verexp.com/Apr28/fr.dinofind.p1.html Excavation of the Utah site, which began two years ago, is being conducted by paleontologists from the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum, the Denver Museum of Natural History, Utah State University and the Cleveland Museum of National History.
http://www.sltrib.com/05031999/utah/102602.htm The new monument became the responsibility of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency that historically has focused more on mining and livestock grazing than parks and preservation. Putting BLM in charge of the monument is part of a trend toward blurring the lines between the roles of the various federal land management agencies that are the West's most dominant landlords. Now, the U.S. Forest Service and BLM are making outdoor recreation and land conservation their primary goals -- a potential threat to the National Park Service.
http://www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/Article_detail_display.cfm?ID=120&Article=News Work is beginning to pick up again on an addition at the town’s museum that will house the Shoshone mammoth. The fossilized remains of the Colombian mammoth were discovered in the desert between Shoshone and Tecopa by a group of geology students in 1983. Milton spent the next 15 years or so on display at Sonoma State University, north of San Francisco, before being dismantled and returned to Shoshone early last year.
http://www.azcentral.com/ent/cincohistory.shtml In 1836, a few thousand Americans settlers in Texas declared themselves independent. This humiliation was a mere prelude to the loss of the entire American Southwest in the Mexican War. Then came the miracle. On May 5, 1862, the French approached the town of Puebla, which a small, poorly armed but determined Mexican force defended. Expecting a panicky retreat, de Lorencez ordered a direct bayonet assault. Instead, the Mexican troops held their ground -- and littered it with French corpses. The whole nation took fresh heart from this victory. Although the war continued, Cinco de Mayo proved that the Mexican nation had the vitality to fight a great power. Indigenous peoples and conquerors did not gloriously integrate on May 6, but Mexico remained free to develop independently, preserving the hope that Mexican solutions will be found to Mexican problems.
http://www.nthp.org/main/preservationweek/preservation_week.htm National Trust sponsors Preservation Week "Protecting The Irreplaceable" May 9-15, 1999. May/June issue of Preservation (pp 19) says time is almost up for Arizona tree carvings. Graffiti in the Wild Time's almost up for Arizona tree carvings. BY CATHERINE COGGAN COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST, Ariz.- When California's gold rush quieted down, Basque shepherds, who had been lured from their Pyrenees homeland, resumed their traditional occupation in the San Francisco Peaks of northern Arizona. Here several dozen of them discovered splendid grazing for their sheep. To guide compadres along hidden byways between mountain glens and to stave off loneliness and boredom, Basques carved messages into aspen trees. Today, north of Flagstaff across 50,000 acres, a century's worth of arcane geometric shapes, romantic musings, political commentary, and wisecracks creep up the bark of trees. "Vida infernal! Malditas sean las borregas" (Infernal life! Cursed be female sheep). "Viva Franco!" is carved into another tree, and next to it, "Muera Franco!" At least one woman ran the sheep: Sofilla Baca incised her name in the 1930s. Shepherds with lots of time on their hands carved faces and naked women into the bark. The carvings, or dendroglyphs, date from 1882 to I978, according to Phil Weigand, a research associate with the anthropology department of the Museum of Northern Arizona. They will survive only as long as their host trees do. An aspen typically lives 80 to 120 years, the age range of many of the carvings. Heavy snows and lightning also pose threats, as do vandals. Graffiti on trees in the wild may be impossible to preserve indefinitely, but the U.S. Forest Service, which owns the San Francisco Peaks land, is determined to record them. Because the Forest Service has little money to do this, it is training a dozen volunteers from the Elderhostel Service Program of Northern Arizona University to plot the mountain locations of the fragile historic documents to capture them in sketches and on film. The next step, says Linda Farnsworth, a Forest Service archaeologist, will be to show the photographs to local Basques. "I ran the sheep as a little boy," says Robert Auza, a 29-year-old Forest Service firefighter: "I was about 10 years old when I carved my name," much like his father and grandfather did before him.
[ Basque Aspen dendroglyphs are also present on the old Chevlon District, A-S Forest ]
From: Deb Dosh Kinlanideb@aol.com We have recorded many Basque sites, many with dendroglyphs on the South Kaibab. A wealth of dendroglyphs are also present on the North Kaibab, but these appear to be related to historic Euro-American use of the area. One man on the North Kaibab has possibly engraved his name (with a number) on over 10,000 trees. We are currently working at two sites near Holbrook with extensive Basque petroglyphs.
http://www.grandcanyontourguide.com/opin.htm Plans are afoot to revive efforts to turn the vacant Babbitt-Polson building into a historical museum. One idea kicked around is to turn it into a replica of a mercantile store. Graffiti-laden interior walls hold cryptic messages scrawled there date as far back as 1899.
http://www.canoe.ca/CalgaryNews/cs.cs-05-03-0049.html From dinosaurs to buffalo jumps, southern Alberta is awash in history.
http://www.suntimes.com:80/output/news/sold30.html Michael Keegan rode with Gen. George Custer, explored the Black Hills when Indians still roamed the land and battled Confederates in the Civil War. Now the native of Ireland, who died 99 years ago and is buried in a pauper's grave in Evanston, is the subject of an unusual legal petition filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court.
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/science/1999/0503/scitoday5.htm Most accounts of cannibalism amongst native inhabitants given by conquering armies and by powerful settlers have been, at best, grossly exaggerated.
http://www.nandotimes.com/noframes/story/0,2107,44719-72160-520466-0,00.html "And so when we realized that it was George Mallory, we were really blown away by that," Hahn said. "We didn't want to disturb him, he'd been lying there for 75 years, but at the same time we thought what better tribute to the man than to try and find out if he had summitted Mt. Everest in 1924." They found the body Saturday but haven't yet found the camera or evidence to prove they had reached the summit, Potterfield said.
http://www.nando.com/noframes/story/0,2107,44509-71820-477585-0,00.html Back in 1932, Boris Karloff staggered around ancient Egypt in the classic horror film "The Mummy." The legacy of the 3,000-year-old curse once again threatens nosy antiquarians and adventurers... [ no doubt... The Curse of the Celluloid ].