Saturday October 16, 1999

ARIZONA The Sinaguan people lived in pueblos here over 600 years ago. Ancient fields still have remnants of prehistoric stone dams used to retain water. Field houses had low stone walls with wooden and thatched roofs. Rock art is clearly the work of the Sinagua and does not include petroglyphs from later Apache or Yavapai peoples. The Arizona Historical Society's annual exhibit for D¡a de los Muertos - Day of the Dead - will open to the public Oct. 29. Many Hispanic and Native American families celebrate the event Nov. 1 (All Saints Day) and Nov. 2 (All Souls Day). Some erect altars in their homes.

NEW MEXICO An imagined modern insult was based on an incident at Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's camp in 1540.

CYBERIA Tribes are fighting for what most Americans take for granted: that ancestors' graves will not be desecrated or looted. They are drafting a proposed law, the Michigan Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, that would protect Native American burial grounds on private property and state land, as a federal act does on public property. With hundreds of burial grounds across the state, any new law would slow construction of new homes as time is taken to check property for grave sites. Any costs from the delays, developers say, would then be passed to the new homeowner. Michigan would not be the first to pass these laws; 16 states already have enacted similar legislation. The prehistoric bones of Kennewick Man, found in Columbia River banks in Washington three years ago, cannot be linked to any modern American Indian tribes or to Europeans, a scientific panel has concluded. The bones were had been hailed as one of the most significant archaeological finds of the decade. The findings are likely to hurt the case of American Indians seeking to control the bones under a federal law that requires native skeletal remains to be returned to people who can show affiliation with them. But the conclusions also put a damper on claims of some scientists and pagan religious groups that Kennewick Man came from Europe. Kennewick Man, one of the oldest and most complete human skeletons ever found in North America, may have had Asian or Polynesian roots, but a scientist says there are still a lot of questions to be answered. "It's similar to what we're seeing with other ancient skeletons in both North and South America - there's some difference between them and any modern people anywhere in the world," said Joseph Powell, a professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. To the amazement of everyone, workers soon found a second and then a third pier, as the footings are known. In all likelihood, the piers that held up the elegant 19th century fence still surround the historic park, spaced seven feet apart and buried two feet under the ground. "This is very cool, very much of a surprise," said Robert Sonderman, senior staff archaeologist for the regional office of the National Park Service. "Everyone always assumes that historical materials like this have been destroyed, but it's still here." Construction workers have dug up the bunker where Adolf Hitler spent his final days, exposing the concrete site for a last time before it is paved over again with a new road in the heart of Berlin. The exact spot of the bunker has been known since 1990. Peter Strieder, the city's top development official, said "exposing these steel reinforcements raises no new arguments'' for overturning a 1994 decision not to preserve the site. An historic downtown hotel may be blown up on Super Bowl Sunday to lure more tourists to Reno for the big betting weekend, the mayor said Friday. Mayor Jeff Griffin opposed a plan to implode the Mapes Hotel as part of a New Year's celebration, because he didn't want to antagonize historic preservationists who have become emotionally attached to the historic building. The newest star in book publishing is a 40-year-old archaeologist who signed a nine-book, $1.2 million deal based on Internet buzz around his first fantasy science-fiction novel. Instead of a fat advance followed by payments for manuscript delivery and publication, Mr. Erikson will in effect receive a regular "salary" for the next nine years -- the equivalent of about $31,000 every quarter. Kate Fox has become racing's very own anthropologist. Now she has come up with a popular account of her work, and her book, The Racing Tribe, is quietly hilarious. Research had made clear to her that trainers are not really trainers at all. Each one is in fact a shaman. Literate Westerners are perfectly capable of abandonment of all logical belief in the context of horse racing, when mystical beliefs about the power of the trainer take over. Forty-million-year-old fossil teeth and bits of jawbone from a new species of early anthropoid primate -- dubbed Bahinia pondaungensis -- have been discovered in Burma. Bahinia is the latest Asian fossil to challenge the idea that anthropoids originated in Africa. China Archaeological News