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Wooden Drop Spindles

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Artifact Description

Amongst the personal possessions recovered from the "Tortugas" shipwreck are two narrow elongated pieces of wood, circular in section, identifiable as hand-held drop spindles or spinning rods used to spin various textiles into thread. Comparative evidence from Prehispanic Mesoamerica, described in the Codex Mendoza as malacatl, indicates that women used a wooden spindle fitted with a ceramic disk or whorl, in conjunction with a small ceramic bowl to support the spindle as it twirled, to spin cotton thread in the conquest period.


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