Wednesday September 15, 1999

MEXICO,1575,SAV-9909150336,00.html Designation by World Monuments Fund is likely to give preservationists new ammunition in their fight to save 99 sites on the group's list. These include man-made landscapes, historic city centers, archeological sites, and villages, sites that are endangered by war, neglect, natural phenomena, sprawl, misguided government policies or lack of vision. They include the ancient mountain village of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes and pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacan near Mexico City. This is the third such list the group has put out since 1996. The Spaniards, who brought the first horses to Mexico, at first prohibited Indians and criollos from owning them, on penalty of death. In 1619, the Viceroy Luis de Tovar Godinez signed the first permit allowing 20 Indians to "freely mount horses" on the Hacienda de San Javier in the state of Hidalgo, marking the birth of the charro. Putting horses in the hands of his subjects was the viceroy's big mistake. Two hundred years later, charros of mixed blood rode alongside Indians as the vanguard for independence led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the revolutionary priest who sounded church bells as a battle cry for freedom on Sept. 15, 1810. The charro really represents a historic persona in Mexico, a national figure who emerged on the old Spanish haciendas and whose skill on horseback made him an invaluable weapon during the war for independence in 1810 and the Mexican Revolution 100 years later. The charro has been likened to the American cowboy, a facile comparison that ignores deep historical differences.

CALIFORNIA The Commission ruled at its August 13th hearing that the project will cause significant harm to coastal zone resources that include a prehistoric Shoshone Gabrielino village site.,1249,115006440,00.html? Old Sacramento has a self-guided, historical audio tour. It has nine stations housed in redwood kiosks with a map that designates the buildings that are discussed in that segment.,1249,115006440,00.html? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be the only U.S. venue for "Pompeii: Life in a Roman Town," which will be on display from Oct. 17 through Jan. 9.

NEVADA Five students from Lois Craig Elementary School had a chance to dig in the dirt Monday, searching for remnants of cowboys' past. The students from third through fifth grade were made archaeologists for the day with the help of professional archaeologists John Hohmann and Peg Davis at the historic Kiel Ranch and through the North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Department. The Reno City Council rejected three last-ditch bids to buy the historic building and voted 5-2 late Monday to tear it down. The Mapes was the first site ever put on the National Trust for Historic Preservations 11-most-endangered list to meet the wrecking ball. "In over 10 years and 100 sites, we never lost one," Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., said before Mondays meeting. "This will be a black mark for Reno."

UTAH,1249,115008873,00.html? The group devoted to preserving the old Grafton ghost town has been honored with the 1999 Rural Partnership of the Year Award. The partnership wants to preserve the few buildings left in Grafton and the surrounding land - but it needs about $1.5 million to do it. The partnership has collected about $650,000 toward the effort.

ARIZONA A line is being drawn in north Scottsdale's desert sand, one of property rights vs. preservation.

CYBERIA A federal judge says he will issue an opinion next week that could resolve a lengthy dispute between scientists and the government over what to do with the Kennewick Man skeleton. The opinion could determine whether eight prominent anthropologists, who filed the original lawsuit in October 1996, will have the opportunity to study the 9,200-year-old remains. September 13, 1999 Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE), the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages, announced today that President and Chief Operating Officer Lawrence M. Small will step down in early 2000 to become Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. As is its custom in filling most senior positions, the company has commenced a nationwide search for a replacement for Small, who joined Fannie Mae in September 1991. "Becoming the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution will enable me to combine a lifetime's dedication to culture and learning with an opportunity to fulfill a commitment to public service." You don't take shortcuts. Robinson brought that ethic to the Watchman Fire Lookout in Crater Lake National Park from the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Training Center in Frederick, Md., the home base for 20 construction professionals who specialize in training federal carpenters to maintain the nation's historic buildings using authentic materials and methods. The 100 sites on the list, which the fund's Watch began compiling in 1996, are chosen by an expert nine-member panel from nominations submitted by governments, US embassies, cultural and preservation groups, and professionals in the field. This year's list consists of nine sites in Africa, 21 in Asia and the Pacific, eight in the Middle East, 13 in Western Europe, 24 in Eastern Europe, 10 in North America, and 15 in South America and the Caribbean. A founding sponsor, American Express, has put up $10 million for the preservation. In addition, governments, businesses, individuals, and institutions such as the World Bank have contributed a total of up to $6 million a year directly to the endangered treasures. Saving historic Savannah is priority No. 2. Savannah's historic district sits on a bluff above the Savannah River, 20 miles inland and high enough to keep most of downtown from flooding. Two homeowners successfully challenged the authority of Oklahoma City's historic neighborhood guidelines Tuesday, sparking a war among preservationists and prompting city leaders to consider revamping ordinances. The commission has moved from its original position of trying to protect neighborhoods from commercial encroachment and stimulating investment to a position of a micromanagement. Trails were once major links between communities for Americans on foot, on horseback or in wagons. As if a fundamental chapter of early Americana has been overlooked, overdue recognition of the cultural, economic, communications and environmental importance of trails has taken on an urgent, new importance. Now more than 40 years since the publication of the first volume of the Public Papers of the Presidents, the Government Printing Office hopes again to delight historians and librarians by making the series available online through GPO Access Tuesday September 14, 1999; Baloc Cartoon; Page A23; [ God in Heaven, on a cloud, looking down on Earth, speaking to an angel: "Let's work with what we've got -- Take some of the more promising apes, and add some extra memory." ] More than 200 priceless ancient objects stolen from a Corinth museum nine years ago were found in a Florida storage area by the FBI and Greek authorities in one of Greece's biggest antiquities busts, the culture minister said Tuesday. Tuesday September 14, 1999; Letters To The Editor; Page A23; How To Foil Looters of Archaeological Sites - Paul G. Bahn ("Diging Up the Past Without Recriminations," editorial page, Sept. 7) rightly praises archaeologists' contributions to our understanding of the past. He is also right when he says that sites are being looted to sell artifacts into a lucrative gray market, and, at the same time, there is an enormous buildup of unexamined artifacts in warehouses due to a shortage of archaeology staff and budget. But like many arhcaeologists, he fails to see that a market in properly researched artifacts would address all these problems at once. Selling off many of the artifacts (such as thousands now sitting useless in crates), authenticated and packaged with the story of their discovery and of the site, would generate far more revenue than even the huge gray market does now. The revenue now going to looters and others who disturb sites without recording them properly would be redirected to help support productive archaeology. Not only would the governmental or private owners of the artifacts receive revenue, so would archaeologists, who would contract with the owners to properly investigate and utilize sites. The buyers would gain, since they could more freely display their treasures and enjoy the prestiege (and increaed value) of properly documented artifacts. And the public, including future generations, would obtain knowledge that is lost today, both because archaeologists are overburdened and because looting is so widespread. Richard L. Stroup Senior Associate, Matthew Brown Research Associate, PERC, Bozeman, Mont. The dig established that religious activities on the site dated back to pre-Roman times. Secrecy surrounded this dig in an effort to avoid the desecration of the site by treasure hunters. The site has now been filled in, and powerful metal detectors used to ensure that there is nothing left for any looters to find.