Leaving Footprints in the Ancient Southwest

Around the world and through time, people have used clothing to express aspects of their social identities. In the ancient Southwest, Ancestral Pueblo people used clothing to relate their membership in groups, social positions, and identity politics. Of all the types of clothing used in the region prehistorically, twined sandals were one of the most commonly preserved and ritually important types of footwear used during the Chaco and post-Chaco eras (AD 850-1300). These sandals were complexly woven, resource intensive textiles to produce, and left unique footprints. These garments were also depicted in a variety of other media including building murals, rock art, pottery decorations, and tablets of stone, wood, and clay. This presentation investigates the ways ancestral Pueblo people in the northern Southwest used twined sandals and their representations in other media to signal aspects of social identities in the Chaco and post-Chaco eras.