JANUARY 2, 2013

Graffiti helps rewrite Northeastern Arizona history

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History can be written in stone. Park ranger, educator, guide, historian, author and rancher Fred Blackburn will explain how with his presentation, The Navajo Expeditions in Northeastern Arizona: Reliving History Through Graffiti. This entertaining hour long talk will take place on Jan. 9, 2013, 7 p.m. at the regular monthly meeting of the Desert Foothills Chapter (DFC) of the Arizona Archaeological Society (AAS) held at the Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 E. Cave Creek Road. The talk is free and open to the public.

Blackburn, a fourth generation Colorado native, is currently working on a long term project with the staff and students of the Jefferson County Open School to document the history of the four corners area through the study of inscriptions or graffiti that many early traveler's left behind on rock walls or boulders. Blackburn states, "Historic graffiti is primary evidence of historic events. Northeastern Arizona is so remote that expeditions and individual visits remain a mystery of confusion. Results indicate that history can be rewritten for this area."

His talk will touch on topics such as early cavalry expeditions, Hollywood filmmaking in Monument Valley, traders, miners, Navajo, Ute and Puebloan peoples, The Long Walk, excavation discoveries of Alfred Kidder and the Rainbow Bridge Monument Valley Expedition. His extensive travels in documenting inscriptions in areas such as Mesa Verde, Grande Gulch, Grand Staircase/Escalante and the Tsegi Canyon have provided him with a wealth of photographs and slides that he will share during the presentation.

A graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, Blackburn is a published author. Among many papers and journal articles, he has published two books, The Wetherills: Friends of Mesa Verde (2006) and Cowboys & Cave Dwellers (2007), written in collaboration with Ray Williamson. Both of these books will be available for purchase and signing at the meeting.
Blackburn is also known for his theory of an "Outdoor Museum", an idea that was detailed in David Roberts book, In Search of the Old Ones. Blackburn was the Research Director for The Wetherill Project, a compilation of the Wetherill family papers and documents that are now archived at the Anasazi Heritage Center in Delores, CO. He continues to educate, guide, research and write while serving on many Cortez area boards and various television consulting projects.

The AAS is an independent, non-profit and statewide organization with over 500 professional and avocational members. The DFC has been active in the Cave Creek area for over 35 years and members enjoy lectures, hikes, classes and research projects. Contact President Glenda Simmons at glendaann@hughes.net or visit the website at www.azarchsoc.org to learn more.