Monday September 13, 1999

MEXICO The act of creation gave Mayan vessels their significance. They were made as a vehicle of social currency. In 1824, Cornish miners and engineers began a 300-mile trek into the mountains. Now tourists flock to Real Del Monte to marvel at the town's unique roofscape and to enjoy plates of pasties washed down with a jug of Pulche.

TEXAS A five-member Smithsonian team will be conducting field research on conjunto music. A cultural heritage center in the Palo Duro Canyon will make Amarillo a year-round destination spot.

NEW MEXICO Aztec is mandated by Congress to acquire new lands in order to protect and preserve the ancient ruins. The Fiesta commemorates the Spanish return to Northern New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Sacramento Mountains Museum and Billy the Kid Chile peppers first arrived in New Mexico about 400 years ago with Don Juan de Oņate and his expedition. Other accounts indicate that the Anasazi, and later the Pueblo Indians, used the domesticated chile long before the Spanish arrived. Who owns the past? On October 28, top experts will meet to critically examine the earliest archaeological and genetic records of North America and determine their implications for our nations public policy concerning ancient human remains.

CYBERIA This federal facility is a catalog of animals for scientists and forensic experts. The warehouse of animal parts are often used in cracking criminal cases. Erosion is gradually exposing paleontological secrets contained in a hillside west of Walhalla ND. For one day, the store will double as a museum, displaying gold and silver artifacts from the ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha. A 3,200-year-old settlement in the Austrian Alps was crucial to the salt trade during the Roman era. Salt was like gold because it enabled locals to preserve foods. Archaeologists digging in a parking lot in Winchester, England, may have unearthed the pelvis of King Alfred the Great, England's first king. Using the Antiquities Act to establish national monuments for purposes other than national parks is a dumbing down of the national park concept. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names rejected a proposal to change the name Hangman Creek to Latah Creek. Supporters of the proposal believe the name gives undo attention to an unsavory episode in local history. If the creationists are right, not just biology must go but also geology, archeology, astrophysics, physics; so must radiometric and carbon-14 dating. Indeed, creationists should be protesting every natural history museum in the country that uses public funds to promulgate the "secular humanist" doctrine of geological time.