National Geographic : 1982 Jul
SALVAGE archaeologists-gleaners as they're called-work behind, around, and ahead of the bulldozers of this world, saving archaeological information from obliteration by construction projects. Hardly a ditch is dug in London without a survey for Roman artifacts. Knowledge of a third-millennium Bronze Age culture in Thailand was troweled from land to be flooded by a Mekong River dam. Some of the richest finds of Aztec civilization were uncovered when archaeologists suspended work on the Mexico City subway. Last November at Windy Gap, 8,000 feet up in the Colorado Rockies and 60 miles northwest of Denver, orange stains were ex posed in the soil of a pipeline trench. Archae ologist Charles Wheeler-whose company, Western Cultural Resource Management, had been contracted to monitor the pipeline project as required by federal law-halted work. And thus began the rewriting of the history of Archaic man in the United States. The orange stains marked the oldest per manent structures ever found in the West, and probably in the country. Preliminary studies suggest mud-and-wattle shelters. Radiocarbon dates indicate habitation over a span of 4,000 years, beginning about 8,000 years ago-a time when early Americans were thought to have been only nomadic. These people mined a nearby outcrop of jas per to make spearpoints and scraping tools. When study costs exceeded the budget of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Arthur C. Townsend, Colorado's historic preservation officer, began a search for funding. Secretary of the Interior James Watt made an appeal for funds. The Na tional Geographic Society, among others, responded. The National Trust for Historic Preservation made a substantial grant from its Endangered Properties Fund. The John son Bros. Corporation generously agreed to hold up pipeline work until July 31 while the two-foot layer of ancient debris is studied. Dr. Jeffrey Kenyon of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation assigned seven archaeologists. Before the bulldozers roll again next month, Windy Gap will have been gleaned of its archaeological treasure, and our understanding of Archaic America will be changed forever. We will keep you informed. EDITOR THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICMAGAZINEVOL. 162. NO. 1 COPYRIGHT© 1982 BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY WASHINGTON,D. C. INTERNATIONALCOPYRIGHTSECURED July 1982 In the Wake of Sindbad 2 Retracing the route of the legendary seafarer, adventurerTim Severin sails from Oman to Chinain afull-size replicaof a medieval Arab ship. Photographsby Richard Greenhill. Carrara Marble: Touchstone of Eternity 42 For 2,000 years artists and artisanshave treasured the "noble stone" of this Italiancity. Cathy Newman and PierreBoulat visit the quarriesthatprovided Michelangelothe marblefor his masterpieces. Peru's Pilgrimage to the Sky 60 Robert Randalljoins devout Andean Indians on an annual trek to a mountainsanctuary.Photographers Loren McIntyre and IraBlock recordthe event, a blend of ancient beliefs and Christianity. Willa Cather: Voice of the Frontier 71 One ofAmerica's premier modern writers, Willa Cathersangof the strugglesandjoys of earlypioneers. PrincetonEnglish professorWilliam Howarth and photographerFarrellGrehanjourney to the regions thatinspiredher novels. The Ivory Coast African Success Story 94 Amid the turmoil of the African Continent-and againsta colorful backdrop of 60 diverse ethnic groups that comprise its population-theIvory Coast remains a model of economic and political stability.By Michael andAubine Kirtley. Unearthing the Oldest Maya 126 Diggingthrough layers of antiquity, archaeologist Norman Hammond discovers the roots of Maya cultureplanted more than 1,000 years earlier than previously thought. Lowell Georgia and Martha Cooper document the rich Cuello site in Belize, CentralAmerica. COVER: Emblem of Oman marks the billowing sails of Sohar, an Arab boom coursing the seas that Sindbad sailed. Photographby Richard Greenhill.