Across the Mississippi River from St. Louis’ famous Gateway Arch is a part of Illinois that’s a post-industrial wasteland.
Some hope the construction of a new bridge across the Mississippi River will help revitalize the area. But archaeologists worry future development could destroy what’s left of another neighborhood — one that flourished there almost a thousand years ago.
Working just ahead of the cranes and earth movers that are building a stretch of the interstate freeway, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a sophisticated American Indian settlement no one knew existed.
There are remnants of more than a thousand prehistoric houses and the base of an earthen pyramid — one of dozens that would have towered above the original settlement.
This East St. Louis dig sits halfway between a crumbling meat packing plant and a now-closed strip club. Read more.
AZTEC, N.M. (AP) - Aztec Ruins National Monument is slated to play host to a National Geographic “geotourism” trail of the Four Corners.
The launching of geotourism trial is scheduled June 2 at the ruin site in Aztec. N.M. The launch will include American Indian ceremonial dancers and excursions to nearby geotourism sites.
Geotourism is tourism that helps the geographic character of a place, its environment, culture, and heritage.
At the launch, National Geographic will release a map entitled “Four Corners Region: Trail of the Ancients” aimed at providing details on archaeological sites, scenic landscapes and wildlife viewing areas. National Geographic also will unveil an interactive website on the Four Corner region that will offer more information on area attractions. (source)
When members of the North Central Chapter 8 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology brought a piece of American Indian pottery to experts from the state museum in Harrisburg, they found that it was a rare artifact for the area.
Though they knew which culture it came from, they weren’t sure the purpose of the piece.
“They started taking pictures of it right away,” said Tom Baird, president of the local chapter. “They were pretty excited about it.”
The piece of pottery that had museum experts excited was a top of a clay pot found in Lycoming County that was made by a group of American Indians that is now called the Clemson’s Island culture. Baird said the piece dates back to A.D. 1050, more than 1,000 years ago.
“We know who made it,” Baird said, “we just don’t know why they made it.” Read more.
A cache of American Indian artifacts seized during raids on a Custer-themed museum in southeast Montana includes items allegedly stolen from members of the Crow Tribe.
The allegation was detailed in court documents filed by the government in part to explain why it still has the artifacts three years after federal agents dropped their criminal probe of the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen, Montana.
Federal officials investigated museum director Christopher Kortlander for four years for alleged artifact fraud. No charges were filed and the case was dropped in 2009.
But the fight over 22 artifacts seized in raids on Kortlander’s museum and businesses in 2005 and 2008 grinds on.
The government contends the artifacts are illegal “contraband” that cannot be returned. They include war bonnets, medicine bundles and other items that contain feathers from protected eagles and other migratory birds. Read more.
TUCSON - The Bureau of Land Management says that five young adults convicted of defacing a prehistoric American Indian site outside of Tucson have been fined more than $43,000 and sentenced to five years of probation.
The agency said Monday that the five people from Sahuarita, who range in age from 20 to 23, were sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to defacing an archaeological resource in June.
Each was fined about $7,800 while a juvenile involved was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution.
The archaeological site is known as Indian Kitchen. The site, southeast of Tucson, was first used by members of prehistoric Hohokam culture to grind grain on bedrock.
The BLM says that spray paint is still visible on the rocks because some of the damage cannot be fixed. (source)
LEWISTON — A 20-year-old Lewiston man has been found guilty of defacing American Indian pictographs by spray painting marijuana leaves and marijuana-themed words on rock walls near Hells Gate State Park south of Lewiston.
The Lewiston Tribune reports Freddie Bernal was found guilty late Wednesday of willful injury or depredation of property and providing false statements to investigators. Two other men who pleaded guilty testified against Bernal. Sentencing is set for Jan. 3.
Officials say the February 2010 vandalism caused more than $200,000 in damage. Laser and archaeology specialists will have to remove the spray paint to maximize the preservation of the pictographs.
Bernal’s attorney argued his client did not know the site was sacred to the Nez Perce or other tribes and thought they were just spray-painting rocks. (source)
Developers have a plan to handle any American Indian remains found at Oxford’s newest shopping center site — a plan they hope will prevent construction delays similar to those that another city project faced last year.
WR Oxford LLC, which is developing a Publix Super Market and retail complex in Oxford, has an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Alabama Historic Preservation Office and the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The agreement sets out rules for dealing with any Indian remains or artifacts discovered at the site.
“We don’t expect any delays due to our coordinated efforts and our agreed-upon procedures,” said Lisa Goghlan, deputy public affairs officer for the Mobile district of the corps.
The agreement is similar to one the city of Oxford obtained after construction of its multi-million dollar sports complex project was delayed for more than a year after ancient remains were found at the site, Goghlan said. Read more.
An Arizona man who pleaded guilty in May to shooting paintballs at sacred American Indian petroglyph panels at Lake Mead’s Grapevine Canyon was sentenced Monday to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay roughly $10,000 in restitution.
David Smith, 21, of Bullhead City, apologized to more than two dozen tribal members who attended his hearing. They consider the canyon to be the birthplace of the creator to each of the seven tribes living along the Colorado River.
Prior to his sentencing, Smith listened attentively as speakers for the tribes told U.S. District Judge Philip Pro how the defacement of the ancient drawings affected them.
Federal prosecutors sought a 22-month sentence and about $38,000 in restitution. Smith’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Jason Carr, sought probation and $5,000 in restitution — the actual amount it cost for workers to clean the site. Read more.