Fred Blackburn

Four Corners History

The Wetherills: Friends of Mesa Verde

The Wetherills: Friends of Mesa Verde"The name Wetherill is closely tied to the early days of what became 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." 

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Cowboys & Cave Dwellers


"The Wetherill Grand Gulch Project was born in 1986, inspired by questions growing from my early wanderings Cowboys & Cave Dwellersas 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."

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Anasazi Basket Maker

"The Wetherill Grand Gulch Project was born in 1986, Anasazi Basketmakerinspired 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. A text of complete research for the project presented as part of the Anasazi Basketmaker Symposium in 1990. Limited copies available.

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Sacred Places of the Southwest

In these images of the architectural remnants of the ancient inhabitants of the American Southwest, German-born photographer Claus Mroczynski asks us not just to look but to feel.
Sacred Places of the Southwest
Claus..enrolled at Dortmund's prestigious Fachhochschule for Design. Some of the top students at Dortmund were offered a fifth year of study after a one-year sabbatical, and Claus seized the free time to come to the U.S. to attend a Yosemite photography workshop with Ansel Adams and other noted photographers.

By the mid-1980's, Claus's work on the Sacred Places project had begun. One of the toughest hurdles to overcome has been access to the sites: some are kept secret by Native Americans fearful of vandalism and theft of relics, while others have very restricted access.

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Fred Blackburn
 

Fred Blackburn and student

Fred and student