for Relics by Mary Anna Evans
Back in school to pursue her dream of becoming an archaeologist, Faye Longchamp is asked to run a project for which she is barely qualified, under the direction of a man who doesn't seem to like her much. Her assignmentto uncover the origins of a mysterious ethnic group called the Sujosa who have lived in Alabama's most remote hills for centuriesis exciting and significant; the Sujosa have shown impressive immunity to many diseases...including AIDS. When this startling fact is made public, research money begins to flow, but Faye's obstacles grow more daunting. Her crew is rebellious. The Sujosa make no secret of the fact that they wish she and all the other outsiders would just go away. Then a house fire kills her friend Carmen and a young man jumps to his death from a cell phone tower. The Sujosa say that opening their lives to scientists and cell phones and satellite TV will be like letting a snake into Eden. Or is the snake already nesting there...
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.