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June 18, 2013 | By Tony Platt
In 1974, Berkeley's distinguished anthropologist Robert Heizer issued a public mea culpa for the practices of his profession in treating "California Indians as though they were objects. " In particular, he apologized for the "continued digging up of the graves of their ancestors. " In 1999, the department of anthropology at Berkeley issued an apology to the cultural descendants of Ishi, a Yahi native, for sending his brain to the Smithsonian after his death in 1916. "We regret our department's role in what happened to Ishi, a man who had already lost all that was dear to him. " This was a good beginning to a journey of accountability and reconciliation.
June 2, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
LONE PINE, Calif. - Oral histories of Native Americans and U.S. Cavalry records offer insights into a horrific massacre here in 1863: Thirty-five Paiute Indians were chased into Owens Lake by settlers and soldiers to drown or be gunned down. But the records are silent on one important point. Exactly where did the massacre occur on the moonlit night of March 19, 1863? An archaeological find in what is today a vast alkali playa has revealed a cache of bullets, musket balls, cavalry uniform buttons and Native American artifacts that Paiute tribal members and researchers believe are evidence of the grim chapter in Owens Valley history.
May 18, 2013 | By Jason Felch, Los Angeles Times
When hundreds of federal agents raided four Southern California museums early one January morning in 2008, it set the art world ablaze, suggesting that even amid an international looting scandal, museums had continued to do business with the black market in stolen antiquities. Acting on evidence gathered during a five-year undercover probe, investigators seized more than 10,000 artifacts at the museums and more than half a dozen other locations in California and Illinois. The objects had allegedly been illegally excavated from sites across Southeast Asia, smuggled into Los Angeles and donated to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the Mingei Museum in San Diego and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, according to search warrant affidavits.
April 1, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Almost three decades ago, as heavy rain threatened to breach the levees protecting the Sacramento area, the state parks department urgently dispatched workers to warehouses holding some of California's most important heirlooms - gold-mining tools, pioneer pottery, antique rifles. They were prepared to load the objects onto trucks and drive them to safety if disaster struck. As luck would have it, the levees held. But despite that scare, the state left much of its collection in those aging warehouses in the West Sacramento flood plain, where it has languished without adequate protection from heat and humidity.
February 21, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Alas, there won't be any locks of Gustavo Dudamel's legendary hair in the exhibition "Enduring Traditions" at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. But the black-tie tails that the Venezuelan conductor wore at his inaugural gala concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic are on display in an exhibition that opened this week. GRAMMYS 2013: Full coverage |   Nomination snubs & surprises | Timeline | Red carpet | Video: Red carpet | Red carpet fashion So is Dudamel's copy of the original score of California composer John Adams' landmark symphonic work "City Noir" (complete with markings)
January 24, 2013
The life and career of President Obama will become a major part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum, which is scheduled to open in 2015, has been collecting Obama-related artifacts since his nomination as the 2008 Democratic candidate, according to reports.   The museum began construction in 2012 and will be completed in 2015. The president attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the museum and delivered an address. At the time, the museum had an estimated price tag of $500 million.
January 19, 2013 | By Candy Thomson
The DNA of a battle that helped turn the tide of a war going horribly wrong for America lay buried just 6 inches below a Maryland cornfield. For nearly two centuries, musket balls, canister shot and other artifacts from intense fighting at Caulk's Field waited to tell the story of a sweltering August night in 1814, when militiamen sprang a trap on a British raiding party bent on destruction. How did the citizen-soldiers best their battle-tested foes? State archaeologist Julie Schablitsky hopes to figure that out. With the help of cadaver-sniffing dogs and history buffs armed with metal detectors, she is retracing the footsteps of Sir Peter Parker, a British marine captain who led 170 troops, and a like number of militiamen commanded by Col. Philip Reed.
December 27, 2012 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia - Nearly a century ago, Konrad Preuss did pioneering work in Colombia's most important archaeological zone, called San Agustin. But the German archaeologist also took 35 stone statues back to Germany, and now residents of the southern Colombian region where he worked have mounted a campaign to get them back. About 1,800 residents of the Andean community of the San Agustin region signed a petition this month in a grass-roots effort to urge Colombia's government to make a formal request for the return of the intriguing artifacts.
December 17, 2012 | By Sara Lessley
As a girl in Southern California, I was fascinated by the discovery of the “lost cities” of the Americas -- of explorers hacking their way through dense jungle, only to happen upon long-obscured temples and artifacts that were then preserved for future generations. Turns out the historic heart of L.A. has its own artifact, freshly conserved but still, well, a little hidden. "América Tropical," the controversial mural created by Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros in 1932, is truly viewable again for the first time in decades, thanks to the efforts of the city, art historians and the Getty Conservation Institute.
November 11, 2012 | By Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times
In the corner of a drab Culver City business park, nestled inside a gray two-story building, treasures from the Cold War lie waiting for the historically curious: Hungarian oil paintings, a full run of East Germany's official party newspaper and a Vladimir Lenin bust, vandalized with pink and turquoise paint to resemble a clown. Outside, 2.6 tons of the Berlin Wall greets those who enter. It's all there, if you can find it. "I think the Wende Museum is one of Culver City's best kept secrets," Councilman Jim Clarke said.
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