By Nola McKey
While Lubbock is a relatively new city—the High Plains hub celebrates its centennial this year—the area has surprisingly strong connections to late-medieval Europe. A major exhibition highlighting these connections, The Medieval Southwest: Manifestations of the Old World in the New, opened at Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection on Aug. 25 and runs through April 4, 2009. Among the items displayed: a chain mail gauntlet, a horseshoe, and two coins from the 1480s, which were left behind by members of Vásquez de Coronado’s expedition in the 1600s as they passed through nearby Blanco Canyon looking for the Lost City of Gold.
The exhibit also includes items from the 18th-Century Mission and Presidio San Sabá sites near Menard, which Texas Tech researchers have been excavating since 2000. The sites have yielded such treasures as a gunstock, knives, mouth harps, dice, glass beads, and kitchen items. Texas Tech scholars at the university’s campus in Seville, Spain, have simultaneously searched the Archive of the Indies in an effort to fill in historical gaps and have found maps, orders for equipment, and other documents related to the San Sabá venture.
Medieval Southwest gives visitors a glimpse of the Southwest as it was at the end of the European Middle Ages and reveals how Old World themes and technologies have carried forward. One example: The Texas Tech campus itself, with its original Spanish Renaissance architectural theme, was inspired by the University of Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, Spain, whose main building dates to Coronado’s times.
For more information, call 806/742-3749.