Eight fishtail sandals were recovered from Granado
Cave. All of the sandals are constructed entirely of narrow-leaf
yucca leaves. They are all of the same type, known by archeologists
as "fishtail sandals," the only type of sandals
found in the Rustler Hills. Similar specimens have been found
in the two Caldwell shelters, the McAlpin Caves, and at Brooks
The widths of the sandals from Granado Cave
range from 1.5 to 3.5 inches (4.2 to 9.1 cm). Interestingly,
most of the sandals were made for small feet, probably for
children or even infants. No sandals were found that would
appear large enough to fit an adult foot, even considering
that these people may have had small feet, which is not supported
by skeletal studies. Sandals appear to have been made primarily
for children, whose feet had not yet toughened and become
insensitive to the hot desert land. Historic accounts support
this argument, as they indicate that people went barefoot.
However, adults may have also sometimes worn sandals.
The sandals vary in shape from
the characteristic fishtail form to sandals
that have a wider, square-toe shape. All were
constructed in the same manner.
In order to demonstrate the motor skills involved
and the versatility of Yucca elata as a raw material, archeologist
Donny Hamilton replicated the construction of the sandals.
From a single crown of yucca leaves, one pair of adult-sized
sandals and one pair of child-sized sandals could be constructed.
An adult sandal required 58
yucca leaves. The two warp bundles consisted
of six leaves each (12 leaves) with an additional
two leaves placed on each of the warps to
form the side straps (4 leaves). The weft
consisted of 14 bundles of 3 leaves (42 leaves),
for a total of 116 for the pair.
The warp bundle of the child's
sandal consisted of five leaves each (10 leaves).
Two leaves were required to make the side
straps (4 leaves) and eight weft bundles of
2 leaves each (16 leaves) were used. A total
of 32 leaves were required for one child's
sandal, or 64 for a pair.
The toe loop was secured over the second
toe, and there is not a "left" or "right"
side. The toes project slightly over the ends of the sandal,
but this was not found to be bothersome to the wearer.