FILLMORE, Calif. -- The '70s must have been very good to the people of Fillmore, because no one can seem to remember where the town's 1970s-era time capsule is buried.

"We're pretty certain we can figure it out if we find the right people and do enough digging," says Deputy City Clerk Steve McClary, who has placed advertisements in newspapers in hopes someone will remember.The collection of cultural artifacts was buried so that generations in the year 2000 could see what the citrus-and-avocado town of 17,000 people 70 miles northwest of Los Angeles was like during the disco era.

People generally recall the capsule was put in the ground someplace in the city sometime in the '70s. What's inside is also a mystery, though McClary says old-timers remember there were photographs.

With the millennium approaching, many communities and organizations around the country are creating time capsules or unearthing old ones. The problem is, many forget where they put the capsules.

According to the International Time Capsule Society in Atlanta, most of the world's 10,000 time capsules are gone and forgotten.

"If it's buried, it's out of sight, out of mind," says Paul Hudson, founder of the decade-old organization at Oglethorpe University.

The society even has a "Nine Most Wanted" time capsules list.

No. 3 on the list are the city of Corona's time capsules. In 1986, workers in the community 40 miles from Los Angeles tore up the concrete around the Civic Center to find 17 time capsules dating from the 1930s. They were never found.

Another entry, No. 4, is the capsule buried in 1983 by the cast of television's "M A S H." It was filled with props and costumes and planted in what was a 20th Century Fox studio parking lot. Nobody seems to know its location, but the current theory is that it is beneath the Century City Marriott Hotel.

And the problem of lost time capsules could get worse.

"America is time capsule crazy right now. Boy Scout troops, schools, hospitals, everyone's burying them," Hudson says. "With the millennium, they think they can write themselves into history."

The loss of Fillmore's time capsule is no surprise to Cecilia Corl, who runs an antiques and crafts store.

"Fillmorons have Alzheimer's," bellows the woman who marketed "Fillmore, Some Assembly Required" baseball caps after the 1994 earthquake nearly leveled the community's business strip. "Who cares about it? And what's in it? Some polyester thing, I'm sure. Maybe platform shoes."

Fillmore Flower Shop owner Janet Foy doesn't understand the time capsule obsession.

"Why do they bury it anyway?" she asks. "That's why we have museums. I thought the idea was to forget it."

A month ago, McClary gave some inmates from the city jail a shovel and had them dig in front of City Hall for a mysterious item encased in concrete. He thought about contacting the news media, then reconsidered.

"We didn't want to do a 'Geraldo' and have a big event and call the media, in case it was nothing," he said.

The mysterious item turned out to be an abandoned water line.

Fillmore has learned from its mistake. The city buried another time capsule in September outside City Hall, and it is about to get a cemetery-style marker. It is packed with items like city budgets, T-shirts, a telephone book and a box of animal crackers.

"Somebody wanted to put food in to see how it would do," McClary says with a shrug.