basketmaker archaeology in Utah's Grand Gulch
Author: Fred M. Blackburn,Ray A. Williamson
Publisher: School for Advanced Research on the
View: 6145The tortuous canyon country of southeastern Utah conceals thousands of archaeological sites, ancient homes of the ancestors of today's Southwest Indian peoples. Late in the 19th century, adventurous cowboy-archaeologists made the first forays into the canyons in search of the material remains of these prehistoric cultures, called "basketmaker". Rancher Richard Wetherill and numerous other adventurers, scholars, preachers, and businessmen mounted expeditions into the area now known as Grand Gulch. With varying degrees of scientific rigor, they mapped and dug the canyon's rich archaeological sites, removing large numbers of artifacts and burial goods to exhibit or sell back home. Almost 100 years after these explorers matte their way through the Gulch, a group of avocational archaeologists began to track the original explorers by tracing the signatures they had left on the canyon walls as they moved from site to site. This adventure grew into the Whetherill-Grand Gulch Project, an effort to recover the history and discover the current whereabouts of the many artifacts extracted from southeastern Utah's arid soil. In Cowboys and Cave Dwellers, Fred M. Blackburn and Ray A. Williamson tell the two intertwined stories of the early archaeological expeditions into Grand Gulch and the Wetherill-Grand Gulch Project. In the process, they describe what we now know about Basketmaker culture and present a stirring plea for the preservation of our nation's priceless archaeological heritage. Cowboys and Cave DwelLers is lavishly illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, many of them by Bruce Hucko, author and photographer of Where There Is No Name for Art.