Plucked Macaws: Evidence of Regular Feather Harvesting at Chaco Canyon

Author(s): Randee Fladeboe

Year: 2017


Macaws are not native to the American Southwest, but were imported into this region from central Mexico for hundreds of years. Recent research has demonstrated that the wing feathers of Southwestern turkeys were regularly plucked, as evidenced by significant scarring on the birds’ ulnae. This paper provides a macroscopic analysis of macaw skeletal remains from Pueblo Bonito and Pueblo Arroyo in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and argues that these elements also show evidence of a practice of regular feather harvesting from live macaws. This information lends insight into the husbandry practices of macaws in the prehistoric Southwest, and aids in reconstructing the life histories of both the transplanted macaws and the humans that supported and utilized them.

Cite this Record

Plucked Macaws: Evidence of Regular Feather Harvesting at Chaco Canyon. Randee Fladeboe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430458)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17019