Location of Buried Artifacts Sought

Associated Press
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

HONOLULU, Dec. 27 -- A federal judge on Tuesday found four leaders of a Hawaiian group in contempt of court for refusing to disclose where they buried native Hawaiian artifacts borrowed from a museum.

Edward Halealoha Ayau, executive director of a group dedicated to the proper treatment of ancestral remains, was taken into federal custody after refusing the judge's order to reveal the exact location of the 83 artifacts borrowed from the Bishop Museum.

Ayau said the objects -- including a wig made of human hair, containers with human teeth and carved wooden statuettes of family gods -- have been buried. Group members allege the items were looted from a cave by an archaeologist in 1905 and illegally sold to the museum. Thirteen other groups also claim ownership of the objects.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company