New Mexico Art Tells its History

History: Hunting

Mogollon hunting parties, armed with the traditional spears hurled with the throwing device we call the "atlatl," in the earliest centuries, and with bows and arrows in the latter centuries, killed mule deer along the mountain flanks and took buffalo, or bison, from the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

They flaked stone to make projectile points and tools; fashioned spears and atlatls and later, bows and arrows; and ground stream cobbles to make ax heads. They trained their sons in the use of their weapons, the language of the trail, and the art of the hunt.

The early Ancestral Pueblo people emerged from their 6000-year-old Desert Archaic hunting and gathering traditions about the turn of the first millennium. They began to settle down although they continued to engage in seasonal hunts and to wild-plant harvests.

Apparently unaware of the bow and arrow, the men hunted the larger game animals with the spear, hurled with the atlatl for greater strength. Large game, including mountain sheep, elk, mule deer and black bear occupied the mountain slopes, valleys and meadows.

Acknowledgements | About the Museum of Art | Privacy Policy | ©2010 New Mexico Museum of Art