There is evidence that ever since early prehistory, textiles have always had more than simply a utilitarian function. Textiles express who we are - our gender, age, family affiliation, occupation, religion, ethnicity and social, political, economic and legal status. Besides expressing our identity, textiles protect us from the harsh conditions of the environment, whether as clothes or shelter. We use them at birth for swaddling, in illness as bandages and at death as shrouds. We use them to carry and contain people and things. We use them for subsistence to catch fish and animals and for transport as sails. In fact, textiles represent one of the earliest human craft technologies and they have always been a fundamental part of subsistence, economy and exchange. Textiles have an enormous potential in archaeological research to inform us of social, chronological and cultural aspects of ancient societies. In archaeology, the study of textiles is often relegated to the marginalised zone of specialist and specialised subject and lack of dialogue between textile researchers and scholars in other fields means that as a resource, textiles are not used to their full potential or integrated into the overall interpretation of a particular site or broader aspects of human activity. Textiles and Textile Production in Europe is a major new survey that aims to redress this. Twenty-three chapters collect and systematise essential information on textiles and textile production from sixteen European countries, resulting in an up-to-date and detailed sourcebook and an easily accessible overview of the development of European textile technology and economy from prehistory to AD 400. All chapters have an introduction, give the chronological and cultural background and an overview of the material in question organised chronologically and thematically. The sources of information used by the authors are primarily textiles and textile tools recovered from archaeological contexts. In addition, other evidence for the study of ancient textile production, ranging from iconography to written sources to palaeobotanical and archaeozoological remains are included. The introduction gives a summary on textile preservation, analytical techniques and production sequence that provides a background for the terminology and issues discussed in the various chapters. Extensively illustrated, with over 200 colour illustrations, maps, chronologies and index, this will be an essential sourcebook not just for textile researchers but also the wider archaeological community.
An understanding of textiles and the role they played in the past is important for anyone interested in past societies. Textiles served and in fact still do as both functional and symbolic items. The evidence for ancient textiles in Europe is split quite definitely along a north-south divide, with an abundance of actual examples in the north, but precious little in the south, where indirect evidence comes from such things as vase painting and frescoes. This volume brings together these two schools to look in more detail at textiles in the ancient world, and is based on a conference held in Denmark and Sweden in March 2003. Section one, Production and Organisation takes a chronological look through more than four thousand years of history; from Syria in the mid-third millennium BC, to Seventeenth Century Germany. Section two, Crafts and Technology focuses on the relationship between the primary producer (the craftsman) and the secondary receiver (the archaeologist/conservator). The third section, Society, examines the symbolic nature of textiles, and their place within ancient societal groups. Throughout the book emphasis is placed on the universality of textiles, and the importance of information exchange between scholars from different disciplines. A small book on finds First Aid for the Excavation of Archaeological Textiles is included as an Appendix.
Older than both ceramics and metallurgy, textile production is a technology which reveals much about prehistoric social and economic development. This book examines the archaeological evidence for textile production in Italy from the transition between the Bronze Age and Early Iron Ages until the Roman expansion (1000-400 BCE), and sheds light on both the process of technological development and the emergence of large urban centres with specialised crafts. Margarita Gleba begins with an overview of the prehistoric Appennine peninsula, which featured cultures such as the Villanovans and the Etruscans, and was connected through colonisation and trade with the other parts of the Mediterranean. She then focuses on the textiles themselves: their appearance in written and iconographic sources, the fibres and dyes employed, how they were produced and what they were used for: we learn, for instance, of the linen used in sails and rigging on Etruscan ships, and of the complex looms needed to produce twill. Featuring a comprehensive analysis of textiles remains and textile tools from the period, the book recovers information about funerary ritual, the sexual differentiation of labour (the spinners and weavers were usually women) and the important role the exchange of luxury textiles played in the emergence of an elite. Textile production played a part in ancient Italian society's change from an egalitarian to an aristocratic social structure, and in the emergence of complex urban communities.
War and Worship concerns textile deposits from the bog sites of Thorsberg in Germany and Nydam, Vimose and Illerup Ådal in Denmark. All four sites are well-known for containing a substantial amount of archaeological materials, particularly weapons, but they also contain, as integral parts of the weapon deposits, a smaller number of preserved textiles, which nevertheless constitute outstanding assemblages. With the exception of Thorsberg, publications dealing particularly with textiles from weapon deposits are almost non-existent. The textiles from each site are analysed, then compared to one another and described as a unit characterising the particular site. Comparisons are then made between the four sites, with emphasis on the overall context. A final chapter by Lise Ræder Knudsen analyses tablet-woven textiles in the deposits, a textile technique used to make bands, edges and borders. Although the state of preservation of the textiles at the different locations varies hugely, the research has extracted a large amount of information allowing conclusions on status, origin, function and role in the deposits to be drawn. The fabrics presented here were, unquestionably, consecrated textiles. They had been worn by the defeated foreign warriors during the battle and were considered worthy as sacrificial offerings to the gods. Some individual high-status textiles were perceived to have a value comparable to certain metal items. Others - probably the majority - were used for covering and wrapping other offerings for the subsequent sacrifice. All were committed to the lakes in a sacred act of remembrance to celebrate victorious battles.
This richly illustrated book presents a selection of the rich and varied iconographic material from the Scandinavian Late Iron Age (AD 400-1050) depicting clothed human figures, from an archaeological textile and clothing perspective. The source material consists of five object categories: gold foils, gold bracteates, helmet plaques, jewellery, and textile tapestries and comprises over 1000 different images of male and female costumes which are then systematically examined in conjunction with our present knowledge of archaeological textiles. In particular, the study explores the question of whether the selected images complement the archaeological clothing sources, through a new analytical tool which enables us to compare and contrast the object categories in regard to material, function, chronology, context and interpretation. The tool is used to record and analyze the numerous details of the iconographic costumes, and to facilitate a clear and easy description. This deliberate use of explicit costume shapes enhances our interpretation and understanding of the Late Iron Age clothing tradition. Thus, the majority of the costumes depicted are identified in the Scandinavian archaeological textile record, demonstrating that the depictions are a reliable source of research for both iconographical costume and archaeological clothing. The book contributes with new information on social, regional and chronological differences in clothing traditions from ca. AD 400 to the Viking Age.
This pioneering work revises our notions of the origins and early development of textiles in Europe and the Near East. Using innovative linguistic techniques, along with methods from palaeobiology and other fields, it shows that spinning and pattern weaving began far earlier than has been supposed. Prehistoric Textiles made an unsurpassed leap in the social and cultural understanding of textiles in humankind's early history. Cloth making was an industry that consumed more time and effort, and was more culturally significant to prehistoric cultures, than anyone assumed before the book's publication. The textile industry is in fact older than pottery--and perhaps even older than agriculture and stockbreeding. It probably consumed far more hours of labor per year, in temperate climates, than did pottery and food production put together. And this work was done primarily by women. Up until the Industrial Revolution, and into this century in many peasant societies, women spent every available moment spinning, weaving, and sewing. The author, Elizabeth Wayland Barber, demonstrates command of an almost unbelievably disparate array of disciplines--from historical linguistics to archaeology and paleobiology, from art history to the practical art of weaving. Her passionate interest in the subject matter leaps out on every page. Barber, a professor of linguistics and archaeology, developed expert sewing and weaving skills as a small girl under her mother's tutelage. One could say she had been born and raised to write this book. Because modern textiles are almost entirely made by machines, we have difficulty appreciating how time-consuming and important the premodern textile industry was. This book opens our eyes to this crucial area of prehistoric human culture.
Textile production is an economic necessity that has confronted all societies in the past. While most textiles were manufactured at a household level, valued textiles were traded over long distances and these trade networks were influenced by raw material supply, labour skills, costs, as well as by regional traditions. This was true in the Mediterranean regions and Making Textiles in pre-Roman and Roman times explores the abundant archaeological and written evidence to understand the typological and geographical diversity of textile commodities. Beginning in the Iron Age, the volume examines the foundations of the textile trade in Italy and the emergence of specialist textile production in Austria, the impact of new Roman markets on regional traditions and the role that gender played in the production of textiles. Trade networks from far beyond the frontiers of the Empire are traced, whilst the role of specialized merchants dealing in particular types of garment and the influence of Roman collegia on how textiles were produced and distributed are explored. Of these collegia, that of the fullers appears to have been particularly influential at a local level and how cloth was cleaned and treated is examined in detail, using archaeological evidence from Pompeii and provincial contexts to understand the processes behind this area of the textile trade.
Minoan ladies, Scythian warriors, Roman and Sarmatian merchants, prehistoric weavers, gold sheet figures, Vikings, Medieval saints and sinners, Renaissance noblemen, Danish peasants, dressmakers and Hollywood stars appear in the pages of this anthology. This is not necessarily how they dressed in the past, but how the authors of this book think they dressed in the past, and why they think so. No reader of this book will ever look at a reconstructed costume in a museum or at a historical festival, or watch a film with a historic theme again without a heightened awareness of how, why, and from what sources, the costumes were reconstructed. The seventeen contributors come from a variety of disciplines: archaeologists, historians, curators with ethnological and anthropological backgrounds, designers, a weaver, a conservator and a scholar of fashion in cinema, are all specialists interested in ancient or historical dress who wish to share their knowledge and expertise with students, hobby enthusiasts and the general reader. The anthology is also recommended for use in teaching students at design schools.
Textile and dress production, from raw materials to finished items, has had a significant impact on society from its earliest history. The essays in this volume offer a fresh insight into the emerging interdisciplinary research field of textile and dress studies by discussing archaeological, iconographical and textual evidence within a broad geographical and chronological spectrum. The thirteen chapters explore issues, such as the analysis of textile tools, especially spindle whorls, and textile imprints for reconstructing textile production in contexts as different as Neolithic Transylvania, the Early Bronze Age North Aegean and the Early Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean; the importance of cuneiform clay tablets as a documentary source for both drawing a detailed picture of the administration of a textile industry and for addressing gender issues, such as the construction of masculinity in the Sumerian kingdoms of the 3rd millennium BC; and discussions of royal and priestly costumes and clothing ornaments in the Mesopotamian kingdom of Mari and in Mycenaean culture. Textile terms testify to intensive exchanges between Semitic and Indo-European languages, especially within the terminology of trade goods. The production and consumption of textiles and garments are demonstrated in 2nd millennium Hittite Anatolia; from 1st millennium BC Assyria, a cross-disciplinary approach combines texts, realia and iconography to produce a systematic study of golden dress decorations; and finally, the important discussion of fibres, flax and wool, in written and archaeological sources is evidence for delineating the economy of linen and the strong symbolic value of fibre types in 1st millennium Babylonia and the Southern Levant. The volume is part of a pair together with Greek and Roman Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology edited by Mary Harlow and Marie-Louise Nosch.
Textiles comprise a vast and wide category of material culture and constitute a crucial part of the ancient economy. Yet, studies of classical antiquity still often leave out this important category of material culture, partly due to the textiles themselves being only rarely preserved in the archaeological record. This neglect is also prevalent in scholarship on ancient Greek religion and ritual, although it is one of the most vibrant and rapidly developing branches of classical scholarship. The aim of the present enquiry is, therefore, to introduce textiles into the study of ancient Greek religion and thereby illuminate the roles textiles played in the performance of Greek ritual and their wider consequences. Among the questions posed are how and where we can detect the use of textiles in the sanctuaries, and how they were used in rituals including their impact on the performance of these rituals and the people involved. Chapters centre on three themes: first, the dedication of textiles and clothing accessories in Greek sanctuaries is investigated through a thorough examination of the temple inventories. Second, the use of textiles to dress ancient cult images is explored. The examination of Hellenistic and Roman copies of ancient cult images from Asia Minor as well as depictions of cult images in vase-painting in collocation with written sources illustrates the existence of this particular ritual custom in ancient Greece. Third, the existence of dress codes in the Greek sanctuaries is addressed through an investigation of the existence of particular attire for ritual personnel as well as visitors to the sanctuaries with the help of iconography and written sources. By merging the study of Greek religion and the study of textiles, the current study illustrates how textiles are, indeed, central materialisations of Greek cult, by reason of their capacity to accentuate and epitomize aspects of identity, spirituality, position in the religious system, by their forms as links between the maker, user, wearer, but also as key material agents in the performance of rituals and communication with the divine.
Textile production is an economic necessity that has confronted all societies in the past. While most textiles were manufactured at a household level, valued textiles were traded over long distances and these trade networks were influenced by raw material supply, labour skills, costs, as well as by regional traditions. This was true in the Mediterranean regions and Making Textiles in pre-Roman and Roman times explores the abundant archaeological and written evidence to understand the typological and geographical diversity of textile commodities. Beginning in the Iron Age, the volume examines the foundations of the textile trade in Italy and the emergence of specialist textile production in Austria, the impact of new Roman markets on regional traditions and the role that gender played in the production of textiles. Trade networks from far beyond the frontiers of the Empire are traced, whilst the role of specialized merchants dealing in particular types of garment and the influence of Roman collegia on how textiles were produced and distributed are explored. Of these collegia, that of the fullers appears to have been particularly influential at a local level and how cloth was cleaned and treated is examined in detail, using archaeological evidence from Pompeii and provincial contexts to understand the processes behind this area of the textile trade.
The NESAT symposium has grown from the first meeting in 1981 which was attended by 23 scholars, to over 100 at the tenth meeting that took place in Copenhagen in 2008, with virtually all areas of Europe represented. The 50 papers from the conference presented here show the vibrance of the study of archaeological textiles today. Examples studied come from the Bronze Age, Neolithic, the Iron Age, Roman, Viking, the Middle Ages and post-Medieval, and from a wide range of countries including Norway, Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia and the Netherlands. Modern techniques of analysis and examination are also discussed.
The history of the Ancient Near East covers a huge chronological frame, from the first pictographic texts of the late 4th millennium to the conquest of Alexander the Great in 333 BC. During these millennia, different societies developed in a changing landscape where sheep (and their wool) always played an important economic role. The 22 papers presented here explore the place of wool in the ancient economy of the region, where large-scale textile production began during the second half of the 3rd millennium. By placing emphasis on the development of multi-disciplinary methodologies, experimentation and use of archaeological evidence combined with ancient textual sources, the wide-ranging contributions explore a number of key themes. These include: the first uses of wool in textile manufacture and organization of weaving; trade and exchange; the role of wool in institutionalized economies; and the reconstruction of the processes that led to this first form of industry in Antiquity. The numerous archaeological and written sources provide an enormous amount of data on wool, textile crafts, and clothing and these inter-disciplinary studies are beginning to present a comprehensive picture of the economic and cultural impact of woollen textiles and textile manufacturing on formative ancient societies.
Wearing the Cloak contains nine stimulating chapters on Roman military textiles and equipment that take textile research to a new level. Hear the sounds of the Roman soldiers' clacking belts and get a view on their purchase orders with Egyptian weavers. Could armour be built of linen? Who had access to what kinds of prestigious equipment? And what garments and weapons were deposited in bogs at the edge of the Roman Empire? The authors draw upon multiple sources such as original textual and scriptural evidence, ancient works of art and iconography and archaeological records and finds. The chapters cover - as did the Roman army - a large geographical span: Egypt, the Levant, the Etruscan heartland and Northern Europe. Status, prestige and access are viewed in the light of financial and social capacities and help shed new light on the material realities of a soldier's life in the Roman world.
A comprehensive analysis of economic transition between the later Roman empire and Charlemagne's reigne.
A global exploration of textile design and its far-reaching influence on aesthetics, commerce, and taste
The eight papers presented here provide a useful introduction to medieval broadcloth, and an up-to-date synthesis of current research. The word broadcloth is nowadays used as an overall term for the woven textiles mass-produced and exported all over Europe. It was first produced in Flanders as a luxurious cloth from the 11th century and throughout the medieval period. Broadcloth is the English term, Laken in Flemish, Tuch in German, Drap in French, Klæde in the Scandinavian languages and Verka in Finish. As the concept of broadcloth has deriving from the written sources it cannot directly be identified in the archaeological textiles and therefore the topic of medieval broadcloth is very suitable as an interdisciplinary theme. The first chapter (John Munro) presents an introduction to the subject and takes the reader through the manufacturing and economic importance of the medieval broadcloth as a luxury item. Chapter two (Carsten Jahnke) describes trade in the Baltic Sea area, detailing production standards, shipping and prices. Chapters three, four and five (Heini Kirjavainen, Riina Rammo and Jerzy Maik) deal with archaeological textiles excavated in the Baltic, Finland and Poland. Chapters six and seven (Camilla Luise Dahl and Kathrine Vestergård Pedersen) concern the problems of combining the terminology from the written sources with archaeological textiles. The last chapter reports on an ongoing reconstruction project; at the open air museum in Eindhoven, Holland, Anton Reurink has tried to recreate a medieval broadcloth based on written and historical sources. During the last few years he has reconstructed the tool for preparing and spinning wool, and a group of spinners has produced a yarn of the right quality. He subsequently wove approximately 20 metres of cloth and conducted the first experiment with foot-fulling.
Nearly every aspect of daily life in the Mediterranean world and Europe during the florescence of the Greek and Roman cultures is relevant to engineering and technology. This text highlights the accomplishments of the ancient societies, the research problems, and stimulates further progress in the history of ancient technology.
Twenty chapters present the range of current research into the study of textiles and dress in classical antiquity, stressing the need for cross and inter-disciplinarity study in order to gain the fullest picture of surviving material. Issues addressed include: the importance of studying textiles to understand economy and landscape in the past; different types of embellishments of dress from weaving techniques to the (late introduction) of embroidery; the close links between the language of ancient mathematics and weaving; the relationships of iconography to the realities of clothed bodies including a paper on the ground breaking research on the polychromy of ancient statuary; dye recipes and methods of analysis; case studies of garments in Spanish, Viennese and Greek collections which discuss methods of analysis and conservation; analyses of textile tools from across the Mediterranean; discussions of trade and ethnicity to the workshop relations in Roman fulleries. Multiple aspects of the production of textiles and the social meaning of dress are included here to offer the reader an up-to-date account of the state of current research. The volume opens up the range of questions that can now be answered when looking at fragments of textiles and examining written and iconographic images of dressed individuals in a range of media. The volume is part of a pair together with Prehistoric, Ancient Near Eastern and Aegean Textiles and Dress: an interdisciplinary anthology edited by Mary Harlow, C_cile Michel and Marie-Louise Nosch
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