Lost and found

  When last summer's fires scorched more than 4,700 acres in Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park, one of the park's rare petroglyph panels, Battleship Rock, was damaged beyond repair.

Vegetation surrounding the site burned so hot that the rock's surface and its 1,000-year-old pecked designs fractured and flaked off.

But the fire also revealed sites park archaeologists never knew were there, said Sarah Craighead, who is managing the rehabilitation of the park's burned land. While surveying a small area after the fire, archaeologists discovered 92 "new" sites that were once hidden by dense shrubs and pines.

The sites range from simple artifact scatters to the low sandstone ruins of pueblo-like buildings; they probably belong to the Anasazi culture and are 700 to 1,300 years old.

Unfortunately, the exposed sites are threatened by damaging erosion, and there's no money for protection, restoration or even a better look at them, said Craighead. The park will apply for federal emergency funds to protect the cliff dwellings, she said, but for now the new sites are on their own. - Danielle Desruisseaux