Archaeologists at the University of New Mexico have studied the history of the Pueblo Indians from an unusual perspective: based on the principles of their poultry keeping. It is known that this group of peoples, who inhabited the southwest of America and the northwest of Mexico, kept turkeys in their economy 1600 years ago. The study's lead author, Professor Cyler Conrad, believes that this bird is an important part of the history of the region's indigenous people.
Studying the data obtained during the excavations, as well as historical evidence, Konrad was looking for answers to three questions: what place did the turkey pens occupy among other outbuildings; whether their design has changed over time, and what conclusions can be drawn based on generalized information over several centuries. The scientist concluded that the ancient pueblos had a "multifaceted relationship with these birds."
He found that sometimes the turkeys were kept right in the living rooms. In other cases, pens were specially designed for poultry, or for these purposes, premises were used that were already pens before. The most interesting discovery was the stay of the turkeys in the amazing "room 28": this was the name of one of the places in the Chaco Canyon, which is now a National Historical Park. In a room in one of the houses of an abandoned village, there were cylindrical vessels with traces of cocoa. The discovery was the first evidence of consumption of this drink in this region, as well as evidence of extensive trade ties - here cocoa does not grow. The turkeys from Room 28 may have been there even earlier - when the room itself was a pen.
Often, the pueblos let the turkeys go free, sometimes kept in small cages, sometimes tied to ropes. They were fed differently: the diet included both wild seeds and corn, which was present on the tables of their owners. The flexibility of poultry farming methods has allowed the Indians to successfully breed turkeys for so many years.
Konrad recalls that the indigenous peoples of this region have always had a "special and important relationship" with eagles, herons and other birds. The Maya and Aztecs domesticated turkeys for ritual purposes, but Konrad found no similar evidence for the pueblo.