Friday November 12, 1999

CYBERIA,2107,500056278-500092613-500347099-0,00.html Archaeologists in Peru's northern Andes have uncovered the tomb of an Indian military chief who lived 1,000 years before Christ, El Comercio reported Thursday. Karen Wright errs in saying that "all human cultures recognize the sanctity of human remains and burial" (Opinion, Oct. 31). The Greek historian Herodotus used sharply contrasting mortuary practices (cremation versus ritual cannibalism) to illustrate cultural relativism and ethnocentrism. Even among native North Americans burial, though common, was not universal: Some peoples cremated and some exposed or abandoned corpses to the elements and wild animals. In time, however, Christian influence did largely eliminate the alternatives to burial. Fear of the spirits of the dead was (and is) often more of a consideration than notions of sanctity. DONALD E. BROWN Prof. of Anthropology, Emeritus Santa Barbara.

COLORADO In the Four Corners, Babbitt's advisory group for the McElmo Dome acreage said in an August report that the region needs more resources to protect the ancient sites of the Ancestral Puebloans, but people disliked the idea of new restrictions on land they now feel free to enjoy.

NEW MEXICO Route 66 represented the link that caused many Americans to be more mobile but the Indian experience of the highway was not all positive.

ARIZONA The State Historic Preservation Office has awarded Clifton a $6,000 grant to pay for a historic and cultural survey of Clifton that may help the town meet future planning goals. The historic survey will identify and document historic buildings and structures, along with evaluating whether they are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Colonel Showalter asked General Smith for the command of one hundred soldiers to invade Arizona. Once there, he believed he could increase his army to at least 500 men by enlisting settlers who were southerners. The letter suggested that Showalter would first seize the Union supply depot at Tucson. With that accomplished, he planned to march on Fort Yuma with the army he would recruit in Arizona and New Mexico. Once the Colorado River military base was captured, he hoped to seize southern California for the Confederacy. In 1861, Union troops abandoned Arizona in favor of protecting California during the Civil War, thus ending any protection afforded the settlers. Indians, seeing the division of the Union, seized the opportunity to renew their own wars against the settlers. At a mass meeting in Tucson in August 1861, Arizona became a territory of the Confederacy. However, the Confederacy's control of Arizona was shortlived. Arizona's participation with the Confederacy had no lasting effect.

NEVADA The Carson City Preservation Coalition is beginning to raise funds to purchase a building to house a museum filled with Carson City History.

CALIFORNIA Christopher Columbus' first expedition was dependent upon Basque ships and sailors, writes Douglass, director of the Basque study program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Subsequently, they were heavily involved in the Spanish colonization of South America, and, by the 1700s, in the Christian missions of California. They would on to become an integral part of the sheep-ranching industry that flourished in California and the West until the middle of this century.

MEXICO Desire Charnay traveled through Mexico from 1858 to 1861, recording pre-Columbian architecture, or at least what was left of it after the ferocious Spanish destruction of Indian monuments and culture.