Got CALICHE? Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said Monday that archaeological riches on public lands in the extreme southwest corner of Colorado deserve more federal protection. Babbitt declared that existing uses of the area, such as grazing and extraction of carbon dioxide and natural gas, are compatible with preservation of the cultural resources and enhancement of the public's enjoyment of them. He said the threats are vandalism, theft and thoughtless degradation of sites. JACKPOT, Nev. Studying old, dry bones may sound boring to some people but not to Derek Benedix. Benedix has searched through the trunk of a burned automobile to recover the remains of a murder victim and descended into a cistern to find a human skull. He's waded in a river to search for human ribs, been lowered into a 250-foot cavern to look for the skeletal remains of a one-legged man, and sifted through the ashes of a still-burning house to gather cremated remains. He's excavated a shallow grave to remove a decapitated human and searched a soybean field to recover scattered remains. He is deliberately vague about the cases as some are still open. At the mouth of the Andreas ranch, the Agua Caliente indians are beginning to make plans for a new museum. Organizers hope the facility will preserve for future generations. The museum will store artifacts, teach visitors about Agua Caliente culture and maybe even teach Cahuilla language classes. If you would like to learn more about the Agua Caliente, you can call their cultural museum at (760) 323-0151. It was an unusual contest that famed geologist John Wesley Powell had with his buddy, explorer and fellow geologist William McGee. Each man was sure he had the bigger brain and, hence, the larger intellect. But how to settle the bet? They finally agreed that upon their deaths, both men would be autopsied by a mutual colleague. Their brains would be weighed and measured, and their dispute laid to rest. The results of that turn-of-the-century rivalry disappeared long ago. So did the belief that brain size determines intelligence. Researchers once collected brains looking for links between their size and intelligence. "It was scientific racism," said Russell Thornton, an anthropology professor at UCLA who serves on a Smithsonian committee overseeing the return of American Indian remains. Thornton describes brain collections of that early period as made up of "Indians, criminals and geniuses," representing the thinking at the time that careful study would allow researchers to see the abnormalities that caused criminal behavior or the markings of superior intelligence. Among some prominent people, like Powell and McGee, there was even a certain vogue to having one's brain studied, so sure were they that their superior intelligence would be visibly apparent. Women's natural abilities will have a powerful impact on the global marketplace in the next century, according to a Rutgers University anthropologist. In her new book, "The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World," anthropologist Helen Fisher says women have skills that evolved millions of years ago when human ancestors lived in small hunter-gatherer bands. Although those skills were eclipsed during the agricultural and industrial revolutions, she contends they will be more important in the emerging information economy. "We're moving into an era that is nothing like the last 8,000 years," Miss Fisher said in an interview. "We're moving back to our hunting and gathering lifestyle where women were economically powerful and socially powerful and shared relative equality." Many feminists will greet her message with hostility. That's because of her insistence that men and women have basic differences, biologically rooted in the distant past. "An Anthropologist Under the Bed" is the tale of an anthropology professor who enters the afterworld and learns he is dead and a candidate for reincarnation. Instead of an immediate transition however, he gets permission from the reincarnation "transitioners" to observe the mating lives of humans and non-humans on "life videos." Between viewing the videos, he discusses their lives and mating patterns with his otherworldly monitors. Eventually, he decides on his future life. The switch between live action scenes and discussions in the afterworld is a unique approach to examining sexual behavior in human and animal species in this philosophical, anthropologically-oriented novel. Members of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community and other groups opposed to the rerouting of Hwy. 55 in Minneapolis on Tuesday condemned a government-funded study that showed no evidence to support claims that human remains or sacred American Indian sites lie in the path of the planned reroute. The groups challenged the report for failing to take into account oral testimony from Indian elders and spiritual leaders who contend that four oak trees in the path of the reroute are sacred. Four years ago, a team of scientists were asked to conduct DNA testing on remains exhumed from James' Kearney grave. The conclusion: It was indeed James buried at the site. Now, it turns out that two guns long displayed at the Jesse James Farm and Museum as the legendary outlaw's weapons were actually made after his death. The Navy and University of West Florida joined forces Tuesday to hunt for shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay and archaeological sites on a base near Panama City Beach. Work on lifting a ring of 2,000-year-old timbers, known to local people as "Sea Henge", will begin today despite the wish by some that the ancient monument should stay. English Heritage said yesterday that the removal of 55 oak timbers from the sea off Holme next the Sea in Norfolk, where they could be seen only at low tide, would include the central timber, an inverted trunk with its roots in the air believed to have symbolised the universe for ancient peoples. David Miles, chief archaeologist at English Heritage, said last night that the operation would involve crating up the timbers and shipping them to Flag Fen, near Peterborough, where there was a laboratory, built around a Bronze-Age dig, that was able to date the wood using radiocarbon and tree-ring techniques. Mr Miles said that once the scientific analysis had been completed plans would be made to return the timbers to a site in west Norfolk.

EVEREST CLIMBERS DON'T FIND CAMERA 05/25/99 KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Climbers who retraced the 1924 route of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine up Mount Everest did not find a camera that could prove whether the pair made it to the top. The 10-member team, which included a man from Columbus, Ohio, say they did find Mallory's body at 27,000 feet, which is about 2,000 feet below the summit. Some people believe Mallory and Irvine reached the top of Everest _ the world's tallest mountain at 29,028 feet _ and died on the way back. Twenty-nine years later, in 1953, New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay said they successfully climbed Mount Everest. The team of American, British and German climbers returned to Katmandu on Tuesday to give details about the expedition that began in March. "We all had to sit down" after finding Mallory's body, said climber Andy Politz, of Columbus. "Never in my wildest dream did I think that we would find George." The climbers then looked for physical evidence, such as the camera Mallory and Irvine reportedly carried, which could show whether they reached the summit. "We can conclusively say that there was no camera on Mallory," said team leader Eric Simonson, of Ashford, Wash. "It is our intention to come back looking for Irvine and the camera since I think we can find it." Simonson is planning another expedition in the next two years. The climbers are divided on whether Mallory and Irvine were successful. "I don't think they made it to the summit. The route was too long and too hard," Simonson said. Conrad Anker, 36, of Big Oakflag, Calif., agreed. "The two could not have made it to the summit due to the length of time they were gone and depth of difficulty," said Anker, who discovered Mallory's frozen body May 1. But Politz said he still believes the pair made it to the top. He didn't elaborate. In 1975, Chinese climber Wang Hongbao found a body near an ice ax that had three notches on the handle, characteristic of the marks Irvine made on his equipment. The climber described the body as "Dead English" dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Two days after he told the story, the climber died. The 10-member team buried Mallory's body under rocks. First they removed handwritten letters that were addressed to Mallory, goggles from his chest pocket, an altimeter, a pocketknife and a piece of rope. The items have been given to the American Foundation for International Mountaineering Exploration and Research. The climbers also cut a piece of flesh from the arms and sent it to England for forensic tests. The expedition has its share of controversies. The sale of photographs of Mallory's body to Newsweek magazine and newspapers in Britain, Australia and New Zealand has drawn criticism. "We will donate all the money from the photographs to Himalayan charities. We are mountaineers and not treasure hunters. Nobody expected to get rich by this," Simonson said.