Archaeologists examine 11,500 turkey feather blanket made by ancient pueblos

A team of archaeologists from Washington State University has carefully examined a turkey feather blanket made 800 years ago by the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. The dimensions of the artifact are 99 x 108 cm. Thousands of feathers were required to make it, which were used to cover a 180-meter long yucca cord.

For the sake of research, scientists have counted the number of feathers on the bodies of wild turkeys now found in Idaho. As it turned out, it took four to ten birds to make a blanket, depending on the size of the feathers. Anthropology professor Bill Lipet said the project aims to study the technology for producing such blankets and the economic aspects of raising turkeys for feather production.

In the scientific community, there is an opinion that clothing and blankets made of animal skins, fur and feathers were critical tools for the expansion of people in cold high-latitude and high-mountain regions - for example, in the southwestern United States, where most of the settlements were located at an altitude of over 1, 500 meters.

Earlier, Lipé established that turkey feathers replaced rabbit skin, which was previously used in the manufacture of blankets around the first 200 years of our era. These blankets were also used as winter cloaks and burial shrouds.

Another interesting discovery made by scientists: turkey feathers were most likely obtained from live birds during seasonal molting, which ensured a steady collection of them several times a year, while the average life of the turkey itself was 10 years.