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Florence Lister Leaves Behind Legacy of Archaeological Education, Public Outreach

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Lister completed some of her work at Moon House, a dwelling on Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah

A Southwestern archaeologist and author who excelled at helping the public understand her field has died.

Florence Lister passed away Sunday in her Mancos home at the age of 96. One of her two sons, Frank, tells KSJD she was one of the first women involved in the science of archaeology. He said while in college at the University of New Mexico, she took archaeology classes and asked the professor, “How do I become an archaeologist?” He told her she’d have to marry one. So she did, Robert Lister. They were married close to 50 years, during which time they traveled, studied, and wrote extensively. Robert died in 1990 of a heart attack while leading a tour at the Moon House cliff dwelling in Utah, an end his son calls poetic. Florence was the author or co-author of several dozen books that helped make archaeology comprehensible to the general public. One such work, “Windows of the Past,” a collection of photos of the Colorado Plateau, was re-released this spring. Florence had been given the title of "Grande Dame of Southwestern Archaeology" by the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center near Cortez, and the library there is named after her. A fellowship in the Listers’ name assists advanced graduate students who show the potential to make significant contributions to archaeological studies of American Indian cultures in the Southwest.

Austin Cope is a former Morning Edition host for KSJD and now produces work on a freelance basis for the station. He grew up in Cortez and hosted a show on KSJD when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2010, he lived in Belgium, Ohio, Spain, northern Wyoming, and Himachal Pradesh, India before returning to the Cortez area. He has a degree in Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio.
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