BLM Logo
Release Date: 04/17/12
Contacts: Michael Williams, BLM Anasazi Heritage Center, (970) 882-5600    

Guest lecturer shares insight into documenting ancient art at the Anasazi Heritage Center (04-16-12)

DOLORES, Colo. — On Apr. 22, author Sally Cole will discuss Anne Axtell Morris’ underappreciated contributions to the science of documenting ancient art during her lecture and slideshow entitled, “Art in Archaeology: The Influential Work of Anne Axtell  Morris in the Southwest and Mesoamerica.”

Cole is the author of the book Legacy on Stone: Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau and Four Corners Region, widely considered the best available regional rock art reference.
The program begins at 1 p.m. at the Bureau of Land Management’s Anasazi Heritage Center, and admission to the museum is free throughout the day.

The importance of Ann Morris’ work is often eclipsed by that of her better-known husband, early Colorado archaeologist Earl Morris. He excavated and reconstructed the Great Kiva at Aztec Ruins in New Mexico, and the Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Anne Morris was an archaeologist in her own right who wrote two books, Digging in Yucatan and Digging in the Southwest. Her books inspired generations to value adventure in remote places and to pursue an archaeology career.

Morris was also a talented artist who used her skills for both scientific and aesthetic purposes. During the 1920s and 1930s, she accompanied her husband on lengthy expeditions across the Southwest and in Mexico, sponsored by the Carnegie Institution. She recorded architecture, rock art, murals and landscapes, as well as the daily chores of expedition life through watercolors and drawings. Her works provide context for important sites including Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde.

Ann Morris developed methods and standards of pictorial documentation that are still in use today. Her watercolors captured information about ancient colors that were invisible through the black and white photography of her era. She also made ethnographic studies of the indigenous people and communities who historically lived around the archaeological zones.

This event is part of the Four Corners Lecture Series, a jointly sponsored program by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, Fort Lewis College, the Cortez Cultural Center, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and KSJD Public Radio. Lectures and events take place in variety of locations throughout the area and all events are free.

The Anasazi Heritage Center, three miles west of Dolores on Highway 184, is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  27501 Highway 184      Dolores, CO 81323  

Last updated: 04-17-2012