MEXICO The butterflies arrive in Mexico about the first of November -- the Day of the Dead. Indian people believe they are the returning spirits of dead children or the souls of lost warriors. Ian Graham studied physics in college, dabbles in photography and is an archaeologist by vocation. But the Harvard University explorer never thought he'd become a hard-nosed detective. Dogged determination has garnered Graham lofty respect within his field.

ARIZONA "You'd expect to find religious artifacts in a house like that," said archaeologist Homer Thiel, who led the dig just west of downtown. The area is part of an Interstate 10 frontage road realignment project. The León home was razed around 1981, and Desert Archaeology workers unwittingly trenched into its rock-and-mortar foundation last month while checking the flood plain east of I-10. Ten feet from the foundation they found a trash pit 5 feet deep and 40 feet long, where garbage was dumped from roughly 1840 to about 1910. The lowest levels of the trash pit next to the house contained pieces of pottery made locally by the Papago and Pima or hauled up from Mexico. Animal bones were abundant, and there were a few musket balls and gun flints. After 1880, there's "an explosion" of goods from the East Coast and Europe in the family's trash. Artifacts from the León dig, which was funded by the Arizona Department of Transportation, will be exhibited next year at the Arizona Historical Society's Sosa-Carillo-Fremont Museum.

UTAH Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt is considering a new 450,000-acre national monument north and west of Grand Canyon National Park, a move that could set aside the Shivwits Plateau and what Babbitt has called one of his native state's "last best places."

COLORADO A retired nun told Salazar yarns and lore about the family's New Mexican roots. The National Society of Hispanic Genealogy is holding its national conference in Denver this week. Seminars range from the basic to the arcane ("Migration Patterns of Rio Arriba and the Rio Abajo East," "Hispanic Colonies Around Greeley, Colo.'').

NEW MEXICO The stone walls are thought to have been built by the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians, gone for hundreds of years from what is now the monument. But they left their calling cards on Bandelier's mesas and canyons. Most of the Bandelier sites date from 1150 to 1550, when the ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians flourished on the mesas and in canyons that reach like fingers from the mountains east to the Rio Grande.

CYBERIA,2107,89633-141813-986462-0,00.html Eight miles from where the Smithsonian Institution will break ground later this month for the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall, work has begun here in the Cultural Resources Center to make a home for the largest collection of Native American artifacts in the world. Some of the items, including bundles of materials that were vital to a tribe's spiritual ceremonies, are considered so sacred that museum staff refuse to discuss their contents. At the North Carolina Maritime Museum Conservation Facility, artifacts are being conserved. Underwater sites are sometimes better preserved than terrestrial sites because some things survive better underwater than when exposed to the elements and plunder. To find out about the Fort Ocracoke project, contact or visit What he found has captured the interest of archaeologists across the state. Half-buried in the muck was a dugout canoe, possibly the first of its kind to be discovered in Arkansas. The Gullah had no money to buy headstones for their deceased. So they improvised. You'd see a pretty pink flowered plate, a cup or some other favorite keepsake of the deceased loved one, and that would be the headstone. Even in death, social, economic and cultural differences can be seen in historic cemeteries. As educators question the veracity of evolution and politicians waffle on questions about it, scientists are using new technologies to sift through a windfall of bones and fossils now driving a flurry of activity the field. Scientists now have at their disposal satellites, computers, MRIs, DNA analysis and highly accurate dating techniques that have all helped eliminate considerable guesswork. The authors conjure up a vanished ecosystem, based on a record preserved in amber. Amber fossils are usually three-dimensional, not squashed flat by sedimentary pressure. They often preserve the original color patterns, internal organs and even cellular structures of an organism. And because the creatures have commonly fallen into the goo while alive, their mummified bodies may retain the postures of life. It is difficult to say how many hands various fossils pass through before they eventually reach paleontologists. Many valuable and scientifically important items end up in the hands of private collectors. Some people will allow researchers to examine their personal collections to document new finds and describe new species. However, in many cases, individuals are unaware of significant fossils in their possession or are reluctant to share them, with the result that many remain undiscovered. There is no doubt that the great majority of rare and scientifically important specimens are in private collections, however, since most museums can little afford the exorbitant costs of unique amber fossils. Coffee is an even better model than Coke of the way in which social, economic and political forces interact globally whenever addiction is aroused, whether for tobacco, sugar, diamonds, gold, pepper, petroleum, cocaine or caffeine. No surprise there, but what is surprising is how early coffee was commodified in the Americas and how much the violent history of Latin America is still tied to the lure of the coffee bean. Uncommon Grounds The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World