THE JIMMY OWENS SITE: LOCATION OF CORONADO EXPEDITION ENCAMPMENT
ARTIFACTS FOUND AT THE 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. It 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.
This was in the land of the buffalo,
where great herds provided sustenance
for local native populations.
They are rolled to form
a cylindrical piece.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS PAGE IS COPYRIGHTED AND SHOULD BE APPROPRIATELY CITED (C) 2007-2008, Deni Seymour
NATIVE ARTIFACTS FOUND AT THE SITE
Rio Grande Glazeware
Locally produced plainware
Tripple-notched chert projectile point
found throughout a broad area in the
terminal prehistoric and historic
A SMALL SUBSET OF CROSSBOW BOLTHEADS
A SMALL SUBSET OF THE CAROT-HEAD NAILS
A ring incised with a design
A copper or bronze bracelet
A buckle adjacent to a horseshoe fragment
Loops, and possible buckle pieces, not
all are definitively Coronado period
Both sides of the end of a belt
A needle that is angular in cross section
Chainmaile glove for
Close-ups of the specimen.
Chain links of other types
Lead balls and miscellaneous lead,
probably from expended shot.
The site has multiple components but this
section shows only those thought to be
related to the Coronado expedition.
Nail left in horseshoe fragment
Two sides of the same shoe, plus a close up showing manufacturing and wear characteristics
According the Nancy Marble, the Floyd County Historical Museum acquired this gauntlet in 1991.
The gauntlet made its public appearance in 1966, but had actually been found in Floyd County
sometime in the 1950s according to Mr. Daniel. He had moved from Floyd County and was living
in Almagordo when Nancy approached him about getting the gauntlet for the museum. That was
the beginning of their involvement with Coronado.
Only minor amounts of pottery were found at the Jimmy Owens Site in Blanco Canyon. These represent the full complement of sherds from
this site and these are all native-made. These provide hints as to which native groups might have camped here and who they traded with
(Rio Grande Pueblos), as does the projectile point. These are not necessarily and not likely contemporaneous with the Coronado
component. The absence of Spanish-made pottery, however, presents interpretive problems for this site because the documentary record
indicates that all the vessels or crockery the Spanish had with them were broken at the site of the severe storm. As chronicler Casteñeda
"While the army was resting in this ravine…a tempest came up one afternoon with a very high wind and hail, and in a very short space of
time a great quantity of hailstones, as big as bowls, or bigger, fell as thick as raindrops, so that in places they covered the ground two or
three spans or more deep... The hail broke many tents, and battered many helmets, and wounded many of the horses, and broke all the
crockery of the army, and the gourds..."
This crockery is expected to be the green-glaze olive jars used to store oils and other items. No sherds of this kind have been found at the
site nor has any majolica. Majolica would not necessarily qualify as "crockery" because it is more nicely made and would have been used
for more formal purposes. It is not necessarily expected to have been broken here even though it may have been carried along. It might
have been brought along on the expedition because the intent of many on this expedition was to settle the new lands and harness the
labor of the native occupants. It is not clear, however, whether majolica would have been taken on this side trip from the Tiguex Province.