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INDIAN SITES VANISH - FROM MAPS, BOOKS

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In an attempt to protect ancient Indian ruins from vandals, some sites in the Southwest are being removed from key road maps and guide books.

In Arizona, ruins targeted to be removed from maps and guides include the spectacular Keet Seel on the Navajo Reservation, which may be the nation's most intact Anasazi settlement, and Awatovi - a Hopi village destroyed by other Hopis in 1700 after its 800 people refused to give up Christianity.Other ruins disappearing from some maps and guide books include Hawikuh on the Arizona-New Mexico border - a Zuni community destroyed in the first battle between Spanish conquistadors and Indians north of the Rio Grande - and several 13th-century villages in Colorado's Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park, both major international tourist venues.

Also being deleted are references to petroglyphs near Ridge-crest in Southern California, which has the world's greatest collection of rock drawings - 100,000 of them dating back 3,000 years.

"We have stopped telling just anybody where to find petroglyphs," said Richard Senn, director of Ridgecrest's Maturango Museum. "Where the public has been allowed access, they will try to chisel off petroglyphs. They will shoot them with guns."

The popular "Guide to Indian Country" and other maps published by the Automobile Club of Southern California identify hundreds of ruins and other prehistoric sites and often show unpaved roads enabling access to them.

Layna Browdy, a spokeswoman for the club, said Keet Seel was removed from the club's map in 1985 after a "request - not an order or anything - came to our cartographers from a federal agency that we should do this out of respect for the monuments and because of fears of vandalism."

Browdy said the latest version, due later this year, will not show the ruins of Awatovi or the Ridge-crest petroglyphs.

New versions of the map also contain a warning that disturbing prehistoric structures is a violation of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archaeological Resources Act of 1979, punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 and possible imprisonment.

Vern Booth, chief cartographer for the Arizona Department of Transportation, which publishes a map available across the state, said even if he were asked, he might not agree.

Both Keet Seel and Awatovi are identified on the Arizona map.

"I really don't know if that would be legal," Booth said. "If it is a point of interest, it should be there. If it is history, it's not up to us to preserve it. Someone else has to do that. I show history."

Leigh Jenkins, cultural preservation officer for the Hopi Tribe, said he has approached map makers and organizations like Arizona Highways and the Arizona Heritage Council about deleting Awatovi from publications "because the ruins are so isolated and because pothunting has really increased since the 1960s and '70s.

"We are very concerned about the impact of tourism and promotion," Jenkins said. "The walls of Awatovi are very delicate. The (350-year-old Spanish) mission can easily be damaged. Collectors will pay thousands of dollars for relics."

National Park Service officials say they are being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of visitors, making protection of sites almost impossible.

The Park Service oversees 56 major ruins in the Four Corners states, including 20 in Arizona.