"The concept of a defensive, hand-held circular shield is old in the Southwest. This is evidenced by the presence of rock art and mural paintings showing shields, as well as by the survival of prehistoric and historic specimens. In addition to proof of age, mural paintings on excavated kiva walls also depict the different shapes of shields as well as methods of carrying them.
"The arrival of the Spanish undoubtedly brought additional shapes and new methods of manufacture to Southwest shields but there was no radical departure from the original native concept. Occasionally Spanish shields were changed to fit native concepts, and Spanish methods of manufacture may have been adopted for the construction of some local shields. When methods of warfare changed with the advent of firearms, the shield did not pass from existence. Rather it continued to be made by the Indians but with greater emphasis placed on its secondary aspect, the ceremonial."
* Wright 1975 p6
"It is extremely unlikely that ... basketry shields would have deflected or stopped an arrow or lance. Since lances have never been found in archaeological context in the Southwest, they were probably not a factor in the use of a basketry shield. Native archers, on the other hand, who had little difficulty in penetrating the chain mail of the Spanish or the padded fiber armor of the mestizo warriors, would have had no difficulty in penetrating the half inch of willow rods. Judd believed on the basis of his excavations that arrows, clubs and thrown rocks were the most common implements of warfare in the Southwest. It seems logical to assume that basketry shields were used for cushioning the fracturing blows of clubs or thrown rocks rather than defense against arrows." [references omitted]