Montezuma's Castle, Arizona 1972
With a serious interest in finding ancient Pueblo settlements there were those who like Virginia McClurg, a journalist at Mesa Verde in '82-85. She found several of the dwellings and many artifacts.
A family of ranchers in southern Colorado, the Wetherhills, are credited with finding most of the big ruins at Mesa Verde. The Native Americans of the regions told them of the dwellings, which they said had been built by the ancient ones. It was December of 1888 when Richard Wetherhill and Charles Mason found Cliff Palace. If you have ever been there, you know what an impressive dwelling it is even today.
Pueblo Grande 1976 Arizona
From the beginning of their being found, coming to these sites were the curious, artifact seekers, vandals, and gold hunters. Many didn't care what damage they did to the structures. Some archeologists had goals like Indiana Jones-- What can I take away. A good example of this was Gustaf Nordenskiöld, the son of a polar explorer. Nordenskiöld was a trained mineralogist who did introduce scientific methods to his collecting, recorded locations, photographed, diagrammed, etc. but he took what he found and sent it to Sweden where the artifacts found their way to a museum in Finland. This inspired the United States to make Mesa Verde into a park to protect it.
I've been to many ruins across the Southwest and always find them fascinating. Even with a crowd of people, you can feel the energy in such sites. Mesa Verde is, of course, spectacular, but Chaco Canyon has the advantage of letting you go through the structures with no one around. I've hiked into ruins hidden away without names. Always, if I can sit long enough, I begin to feel the energy of those who had come before, can imagine living there in an ancient time. Between these sites and petroglyphs, I've had a life long interest in archaeology (my daughter is an archaeologist although currently she is not working in the field).
Mesa Verde 1981
This book will also involve an outlaw family which led to more to research regarding the Outlaw , Hole in the Wall, and Robber's Roost in Utah. My hero has an outlaw father and his three predatory brothers (imaginary names, of course) who he has spent his life trying to get shed of. His skill with a gun has complicated his life time and again. Keeping most of the characters fiction makes it easier to write what I wish-- but I like to know the real stories of these outlaws and how the community regarded them-- often with great favor. Times don't change as much as we sometimes like to think!
So research has been a big deal for me lately. I've been sidetracked by my real life but also other things I came across in history which I can't use but will share as who knows maybe someone else reading this will be interested in creating their own historical. History was one of my minors in college and has been a lifelong interest. There just aren't enough hours in the day to cover all that fascinates me. Kind of neat to have it be that way as it means I am never bored-- well rarely.