Tomb of the Weaver

The tomb of the weaver was found in an alcove about 50 feet (15m) above the canyon floor across the wash from Antelope House. this burial was discovered by archeologists in the 1920s and contained the very well preserved body of an old man wrapped in a blanket composed mainly of the feathers of golden eagles. The labor involved in capturing the birds to provide the down and in constructing more than 1000 feet (300m) of cord from which the blanket was made indicates the individual must have enjoyed great respect and prestige in his community. Other objects placed in the crypt included an extremely thick bow which required great strength to use, a single reed arrow, and containers filled with cornmeal, shelled and husked corn, pinyon nuts, beans and salt.

The careful construction of the crypt kept dust and sand from entering in. In fact, a white cotton blanket found under the feather cloth appeared so new that it seemed to have just been woven. The entire burial was covered with skeins of cotton yarn which measured more than 2 miles (3.2 km) long and upon these lay a spindle whorl. It is believed that the individual himself was a weaver who hung his loom and practiced his craft in one of the nearby villages.

Late in the Baskermaker period at Canyon de Chelly, domesticated cotton was introduced into the Anasazi area. Evidence for the use of cotton textiles as clothing does not appear until the early Pueblo period. Although it may have been traded from the south, the actual source of this species of cotton which was successfully adapted to high altitudes and arid conditions is unknown. It is no longer grown in the canyons.

Taken directly from the Motoring Guide to the North Rim of Canyon de Chelly published by The Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 221 N. Court, Tucson, AZ 85701
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