National Geographic : 2005 Jan
of our American heritage. Yet we were astounded by what we read. The maritime archaeology com munity has been working for decades to stop commercial sal vage companies from destroying shipwrecks for gain. The breaking up of archaeological collections and selling of artifacts is prohib ited on archaeological sites around the globe, but for some reason, if the same sites are underwater, these rules do not apply. It is clear from reading the article that the objective was to collect coins. These artifacts will soon be sold to private col lectors, and it will be impossible to study the collection as a whole. This project was about looting for profit, plain and simple. BRAD GARRETT ERIKA STEIN Townsville, Queensland Although Odyssey MarineExplo ration,the salvagecompany that discovered the Republic, will sell the artifacts,it performed an excavation that was legal, safe, andprofessional.And, as its marine archaeologistsays in the story, only a commercialoperation could afford such an expensive deep-sea recovery. Geographica: Anasazi Rope I enjoyed the article on the pos sible use of ropes by the Anasazi to reach some of their dwellings. Field-testing of ancient tools is an interesting approach to expanding our knowledge of cultures and long-lost skills. As an engineer, however, I can't help but wonder about the rope-strength tests. If a single rope was not strong enough to support a human with complete confidence, then wouldn't the cliff dwellers have used more than one rope? JOHN B. ROLLINS Southlake, Texas Maybe they did, but the climbers who tested the rope believe the Anasazi probablyused the three eighths-inchyucca cord as a handrailto guide cliff dwellers up hand-and-toetrails or as a staticline to help less sure-footed travelers-notas a climbing rope strong enough to stop afall without breaking. Weoccasionallymakeourcustomerlist availabletocarefully screenedcompanieswhoseproductsorservicesmaybe of interest to you. If you prefernot to receivesuch mailings,U.S. and Canadiancustomers please call 1-800 -NGS-UNE(1-800 647-5463). Internationalcustomers please call +1-813-979 6845 or write:NationalGeographicSociety, POBox 63005, Tampa, FL33663-3005. Please include the address area fromyourmagazinewrapperwhenwriting. I III gg * Look ShaSp'