Coronado at the
Jimmy Owens site
The Jimmy Owens Site (41FL81) is located near Floydada on the Texas panhandle. Archaeologist Donald Blakeslee was made aware of this site by Nancy Marble who also enlisted the assistance of a local Jimmy Owens, who was a well-known artifact collector, who had found some period-specific artifacts at the site. Investigations since then have produced an abundance of artifacts related to the Coronado Expedition and later uses. Because of the abundance of artifacts and the location of the site is thought by some that this might be the location where the party was hit by a severe storm, accounting for the abundance of artifacts preserved for our study. Others believe that this is the location where most of the men camped for a couple of weeks hunting bison as Coronado and a small party ventured north to Quivira.
These artifacts are now housed at the Floyd County Historical Museum. I photographed all of the period-specific artifacts in this collection and a small subset of these are illustrated below. Some metal artifacts clearly relate to a later occupation and some indigenous artifacts suggest a Native component or two. We were graciously assisted by Nancy Marble and Janet Milam.
The site itself is situated in Blanco Canyon, southwest of town. This is one of the steeper, more entrenched canyons that run through the area. The site is on private land and so cannot be accessed without permission.
This was in the land of the buffalo,
where great herds provided sustenance
for local native populations.
ARTIFACTS FOUND AT THE SITE
The site has multiple components but this section shows only those thought to be related to the Coronado expedition.
Copper aglets, are rolled to form a cylindrical piece. these were attached to the ends of laces, such as shoe laces, as occurs today. Copper aglets are especially typical of the Coronado expedition, whereas ferrous ones were apparently made for a much longer period of time.
An incised ring.
Buckle and a horseshoe fragment.
A copper bracelet.
Miscellaneous pieces of copper.
Belt tip or sward scabbard tip.
An awl and two additional items.
Chainmail glove. Close-ups of the specimen found near the site and a modern three-finger chainmail mesh butcher's glove. It is currently thought that this archaeological specimen is actually a butcher's glove.
Chain links, loops, and hooks.
Lead shot, unused.
COSCOJOS OR HORSE JINGLES
A variety of types of coscojo or jingles are now known from Coronado-period sites. Some may be diagnostic of this period, as the one on the left seems to be. An identical one was found on a Coronado site in southern Arizona.
As it turns out, horseshoes of the type shown below are highly diagnostic of the pre-1600 period. This means that all the earliest expeditions likely used these and made them this way, while those after this century mark likely did not. In some areas, this rules out anyone other than Coronado, but this is not the case in Texas and New Mexico.
A close up of the holes shows that they are rectangular, sometimes square, with four to a side, and a total of 32 nails.
There are a few instances where the nails are still inserted in the horseshoe, which is important because it shows us which nails were used to shoe horses. As the images below these show, the type of nail used in horse shoes is highly diagnostic of the Coronado expedition.
The nails show below have long been recognized as being diagnostic of the Coronado expedition in the United States. They were not used after about 1600 and so in some areas they tell us in no uncertain terms that Coronado was in the area.
These are horseshoe nails, as shown above, and may have also been used for other purposes.
Watch the video here for more information on these nails:
Simple but Mighty Nail: Evidence of Vasquez de Coronado in Southern Arizona
The nails shown in the two images below are highly diagnostic of the Coronado expedition. They have not been called out before as diagnostic, but they are very specific to this time period and earlier. They are Roman nails.
Copper Crossbow Bolt Heads (Arrow heads)
All but one are bodkins and one is broader and may be a plate cutter or something else entirely. All are copper and for some time it was thought that all Coronado-related bolt heads were copper. More recently, in Arizona, numerous iron bolt heads have been found associated with this expedition. The copper ones shown below are different styles, as is consistent with those found elsewhere and different sizes, presumably indicating different types of bows and crossbows.
Miscellaneous Items including nails, musket parts.