Fred Blackburn

Four Corners History

The Wetherills

Friends of Mesa Verde

Fred Blackburn, author of The Wetherills: Friends of Mesa Verde, is an independent guide, author, and contractor responsible for organizing the donation of Wetherill family collections to the Anasazi Heritage Center. He serves as historian / author / liaison between the Wetherill family and the Anasazi Heritage Center in Cortez, Colorado, a volunteer role.

"The name Wetherill is closely tied to the early days of what The Wetherills: Friends of Mesa Verdebecame Mesa Verde National Park. For 20 years, the family of B.K. Wetherill explored the cliff dwellings and surface ruins along the canyons of the Mancos River drainage, guiding scientists and curiosity seekers alike. In the century since their Alamo Ranch was the center of Mesa Verde explorations, their activities among the ruins have been misunderstood, misrepresented, and harshly criticized. It is time to set the record straight."


Fred Blackburn continues to research and write about historical and archaeological expeditions in the Four Corners. He co-authored with Dr. Ray Williamson "Cowboys and Cave Dwellers" reviewing early archaeological explorations in the Grand Gulch and Mesa Verde region. His contribution to other texts include "Handwriting on the Wall" in "Anasazi Basketmaker" - a synopsis of journal and reverse archaeology in Utah’s Grand Gulch and historic inscriptions and the first recorded visits to balcony house in "A History of a Cliff Dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado", by Kathleen Fiero.

Fred helped design and complete the text for "Sacred Places of the Southwest" by Claus Mroczynski and a preliminary report for Navajo National Monument on Richard Wetherill and the discovery of Keet Seel.

He also completed a major research manuscript for Mesa Verde National Park titled "Historical Inscriptions and the Expeditionary History of Balcony House, Cliff Palace, Hemenway House, Little Hemenway House, Honeymoon House and Spruce Tree House: A history of Discovery, Exploration, Photography, and Documentation". He uses historical or ancestral inscriptions as a primary research reference. His collaboration with Wetherill Family members, and his extensive knowledge of the terrain and archaeology of the Four Corners serves him well in the organization of special field programs designed by request. Fred holds a biological science degree and secondary science education certificate from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He lives in Cortez, Colorado, with his wife Victoria and their children Julianna and Lucas. 

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Cowboys & Cave Dwellers

Cowboys and Cave Dwellers

"The Wetherill Grand Gulch Project was born in 1986, inspired by questions growing from my early wanderings as a ranger. [This] resulted in a four-year project by a team of unpaid volunteers. We quickly realized that graffiti left by 19th century explorers could provide connections and documentation of their activities. Our team reconnected artifacts found in museums to caves in southeastern Utah in a process I deemed 'reverse archaeology'. Two publications grew out of that work: Anasazi Basketmaker, Papers from the 1990 Wetherill-Grand Gulch Symposium, edited by Victoria Atkins, and Cowboys and Cave Dwellers, which I co-wrote with Ray Williamson."

Select the Book button to be taken to Fred Blackburn's purchase page for an autographed copy of  this book.

Book

During the payment process there is an option to add Personalized Autograph Wording, if you wish.