Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Antiquities Market update Thieves removing history from the wide-open spaces
Linda Farnsworth picked her way across a field of loose rocks, down a steep slope under the overhang of sandstone cliffs. The archaeologist stopped at the remains of a low stone retaining wall and searched briefly until she found the series of backfilled holes — where looters had rooted around a remote kiva site for highly prized black and white Anasazi pots, tools and other prehistoric objects.

There are no signs or trails that lead visitors here, to Woods Canyon Pueblo, a site containing the remnants of 50 stone kivas, 220 rooms and 16 towers. But isolation offered scant protection when thieves swept through it a few months ago, leaving behind crude excavations, discarded pot shards and their own trash — crumpled water bottles and wrappers from banana LifeSavers.