People of the Pecos

The Lower Pecos Canyonlands were the home of hunter gatherers thousands of years ago. In this exhibition, their ancient culture is revealed.

By Witte Museum

From the Kittie West Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery at the Witte Museum

Food Gathering (2017) by Witte MuseumWitte Museum

Food Gathering

The Lower Pecos Canyonlands was a bountiful environment for people and wildlife. Campsites were located near plant resources. Many native plants were harvested and cooked in earth ovens. 

Agave Knife by Unknown and Al Rendon, photographerWitte Museum

Agave Knife

The grimy handle and polished blade on this rare hafted agave knife from Shumla Cave is testament to its many hours of use harvesting sotol and agave. Agave knives were large sharp-edge chert flakes secured into the side of a stick. 

Petates or Mats by Unknown and Al Rendon, photographerWitte Museum

Woven Mats

Portable woven mats of split sotol and yucca leaves were used for outdoor work surfaces, flooring in huts, or sitting. Mats were made with twill plaiting.

Hunting (2017) by Witte MuseumWitte Museum

Hunting

Hunter's camps were located in places with good views of the land. Hunting was an important role for everyone. Hunters killed deer, rabbits, opposums, squirrels and fish, which provided important animal protein. Small game were trapped or snared and fish caught by nets. 

Rabbit Club by Unknown and Al Rendon, photographerWitte Museum

Rabbit Stick

Curved wooden clubs were important multi-purpose tools used to kill rabbits and other small animals. 

Atlatl Styles by Unknown and Al Rendon, photographerWitte Museum

Atlatls

The main weapon used for thousands of years was the spear thrown with an atlatl (spear thrower). Spears could be thrown farther and more accurately with an atlatl than by hand. Spears were tipped with stone points made of chert. 

Habitation Shelter (2017) by Witte MuseumWitte Museum

Habitation Shelter

Rockshelters were base camps occupied during cold or wet periods or times of social gathering. A family living in a rockshelter about 4,000 years ago would use the space much like we do in our own houses. Rituals were performed within the household that involved storytelling.

Bowl from Shumla Cave 5 by Unknown and Al Rendon, photographerWitte Museum

Basket Bowls

Woven basket bowls were made using fibers of yucca, lechuguilla, sotol, or grass. Woven bowls could be lined with tree resin or skins to hold liquids. 

Credits: Story

Visit the Kittie Nelson Ferguson People of the Pecos Gallery at the Witte Museum to see more. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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