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Field Notes Volume 49 Number 3, May/June 1996

* Arrests in Iran
Twenty people were arrested for looting archaeological treasures in Iran's western Ilam province, according to the newspaper Jomhuri Islami. Authorities confiscated a second-century B.C. sword and various statues. Last year Iran introduced the death penalty for people convicted of illegal trade in antiquities.

* Tibetan Cave Find
Chinese archaeologists have discovered more than 825 Buddhist caves dating to the ninth century A.D. in western Tibet's Plateau of Ali. Brightly painted sculpture and frescoes decorate the the interior of the caves, which were used as a monastery.

* Stupa Conservation
The Archaeological Survey of India has launched a three-year conservation program with aid from UNESCO to conserve some 40 stupas recently unearthed at Satdhara, a Buddhist site believed to date to the third century B.C.

* Lucy was a Guy?
A recent study by two Swiss anthropologists suggests that Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis, may be male. If correct, these findings may re-ignite an acrimonious debate among scholars over whether A. afarensis is one species or two.

* Dining al Fresco
A microbiologist from the Government College of Arts and Science in Aurangabad, India, warns that microorganisms are eating into the Buddhist frescoes and sculpture at the nearby Ajanta caves.

* Pre-Taíno Culture
More than 100 pre-Taíno burials with stone tools, vases, amulets, and beads have been found at Paso del Indio, a site on the floodplain of the Rio Indio in northern Puerto Rico. The finds are expected to shed light on the burial practices, dietary habits, and uses of sacred, communal, and family space of a culture that thrived between ca. A.D. 600 and 1200.

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© 1996 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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