Durango, Colorado, situated in the four corners region of southwest Colorado, has long been an area of interest to professional archaeologists and non-professional enthusiasts alike. In addition to its natural beauty, the area has been host to a number of ancestral Pueblo Indian groups dating back to prehistoric times. In the 1930s, archeological professionals made up a small, growing group while the ranks of amateur enthusiasts and pothunters, those who dug ancient sites for artifacts out of curiosity or for monetary gain, swelled. Prehistory in Peril is the first accurate account of the early period of archeological study of the Durango area. The area, still rife with unexplored sites, drew many self-trained amateurs and pothunters. As more and more historically significant artifacts were found, bitter confrontation and animosity developed between professionals and enthusiasts. Prehistory in Peril follows the fascinating drama and re-evaluates data from two prominent archeologists of that time, and takes into account more recent research to draw new conclusions about the prehistoric cultural patterns revealed in the southern Colorado area of Durango.
Florence C Lister is a distinguished archaeologist and historian of archaeology who lives in Mancos, Colorado.