Friday September 17, 1999

ARIZONA Four sacred artifacts being returned to the Navajo Nation are but a few of many treasured items lost over the years to thieves, tribal officials say. Dozens of items held by museums and private collectors have been returned voluntarily to the tribe since federal legislation in 1990 cracked down on looting of American Indian sites.

CYBERIA The Lummi Indian tribe intends to seek $30 million in damages over removal of the remains of more than 40 people during excavation for a new wastewater treatment plant. Tribal members contend the remains are from their ancestors. It may not be as sexy as a tyrannosaurus rex fossil, but archeologists are ecstatic over remnants of a 161-year-old boat canal, locks system and dam unearthed this week. Cities and towns could use new local taxes to raise money to preserve open space, historic buildings and affordable housing under a bill passed by the Senate. The bill now heads to the House. Treasure hunters were warned yesterday that their finds would be confiscated if they were caught trying to smuggle them out of the country. The Government would not hesitate to use its powers of seizure to prevent the illegal export of unearthed objects. A drive is on to ensure that the estimated 400,000 non-treasure items found every year by users of metal detectors are recorded to ensure that vital but unglamorous clues from Britain's archaeological heritage are not overlooked. An archaeologist advising the Iraqi government said on Thursday a site that the United States described as a destroyed village was in fact an archaeological site under excavation.