Textile Production in Pre-Roman Italy [Hardback]

Margarita Gleba (Author)

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ISBN: 9781842173305 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Ancient Textiles Series | Volume: 4 | Year of Publication: 2008 | Language: English 280p, H246 x W189 (mm)

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eBook (PDF) - ISBN: 9781782976059 - £ 19.00

Textile Production in Pre-Roman Italy


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.

Reviews & Quotes

"The author is to be congratulated for successfully presenting such complex data so clearly and with excellent illustrations.'"

"'This is an essential book. It is every bit as illuminating in its small details as it is in its broad scope. Through a focused presentation of all available forms of evidence, the full stature and importance of textile manufacturing in ancient Italy are made abundantly clear. Gleba constructs a clear methodology for the organization and analysis of textiles and the equipment used in their production that will serve as a model for future scholarship on the subject. Moreover, she also lays the foundation for the future resolution of a number of critical questions associated with those data. But what is perhaps most exciting about this volume lies not merely in the revealing insights it presents, but in the challenge it poses to archaeologists of pre-Roman Italy to more effectively report and consider the nature of the evidence for this pivotal ancient industry. If this challenge is met, the broader academic community will soon rightly place textile manufacture among the most important industries of the ancient Mediterranean.'"
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"... a thorough gathering of available information on both the technical aspects of textile production and the implications that they have for socioeconomic organization and other contextual issues. [...] Glebas book is a sincere publication that stands firmly next to pioneering syntheses ... in a convenient way, it shares a surprising wealth of knowledge that hopefully will inspire other scholars to make the subject their own.'"
AJA Online Book Reviews
AJA Online Book Reviews

"This is an excellent resource for further studies in ancient textiles.'"
Archaeological Review from Cambridge
Archaeological Review from Cambridge

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