Monday, November 13, 2006

Weird story Accused looter has lifelong love for Indian lore, archaeology
Owens declines to talk about the pending charges against him, but readily discusses and his lifelong love for Indian lore and archaeology. His voice fills with awe talking about people who roamed Arizona 800 years ago, living in homes that could only be entered by way of a ladder to the roof, making beautiful earthenware. "I live it," Owens says. "Every pot is different. Every style has its own formula of clays, slips and paints."

Owens notes that there are millions of ruins on private land where artifact hunters can dig if they have permission, or if they buy the property. In fact, he made pot-hunting a career after a rancher offered to sell him land full of archaeological treasures. And he knows of several diggers who purchased residential plots near Globe that are checkered with pristine ruins. After artifacts are harvested, the land is flipped.

. . .

After thinking about his own legal problem, Owens says he's in favor of statutes protecting archaeological sites: "If it weren't for the laws, I don't think there would be any ruins left."

Which is kind of weird, since there are statutes protecting archaeological sites, but none that apply to private property.