The Competition of Fibres: Early Textile Production in Western Asia, Southeast and Central Europe (10,000–500 BC) [Paperback]

Wolfram Schier (Editor); Susan Pollock (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789254297 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Ancient Textiles Series | Volume: 36 | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 240p, H280 x W216 (mm) Colour

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The Competition of Fibres


The central issues discussed in this new collected work in the highly successful ancient textiles series are the relationships between fiber resources and availability on the one hand and the ways those resources were exploited to produce textiles on the other. Technological and economic practices - for example, the strategies by which raw materials were acquired and prepared - in the production of textiles play a major role in the papers collected here.

Contributions investigate the beginnings of wool use in western Asia and southeastern Europe. The importance of wool in considerations of early textiles is due to at least two factors. First, both wild as well as some domesticated sheep are characterized by a hairy rather than a woolly coat. This raises the question of when and where woolly sheep emerged, a question that has not up to now been resolvable by genetic or other biological analyses. Second, wool as a fiber has played a major role both economically and socially in both western Asian and European societies from as early as the 3rd millennium BCE in Mesopotamia, and it continues to do so, in different ways, up to the modern day. Despite the importance of wool as a fiber resource contributors demonstrate clearly that its development and use can only be properly addressed in the context of a consideration of other fibers, both plant and animal. Only within a framework that takes into account historically and regionally variable strategies of procurement, processing, and the products of different types of fibers is it possible to gain real insights into the changing roles played by fibers and textiles in the lives of people in different places and times in the past.

With relatively rare, albeit sometimes spectacular exceptions, archaeological contexts offer only poor conditions of preservation for textiles. As a result, archaeologists are dependent on indirect or proxy indicators such as textile tools (e.g., loom weights, spindle whorls) and the analysis of faunal remains to explore a range of such proxies and methods by which they may be analyzed and evaluated in order to contribute to an understanding of fiber and textile production and use in the past.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 The Neolithic Revolution in the Fertile Crescent and the origins of fiber technology
3 Early Wool of Mesopotamia, ca. 7000-3000 BC. Between prestige and economy
4 Continuity and Discontinuity in Neolithic and Chalcolithic Linen Textile Production in
the Southern Levant
5 Fibers, Fabrics and Looms: A link between animals fibers and warp weighted looms
in the Iron Age Levant
6 An archaic, male exclusive, loom from Oman
7 The TOPOI Research Group "Textile Revolution" - Archaeological background and a
multi-proxy approach
8 Fibres to Fibres. Thread to Thread. Comparing Diachronic Changers in Large Spindle
Whorl Samples
9 Finding the woolly sheep: meta-analyses of archaeozoological data from Southwest-
Asia and Southeast-Europe
10 Taming the Fibres: Traditions and Innovations in the Textile Cultures of Neolithic
11 Ex Oriente Ars? "Anatolianizing" spindle whorls in the Early Bronze Age Aegean
islands and their implications for fiber crafts
12 Different skills for different fibres? The use of flax and wool in textile technology of
Bronze Age Greece in light of archaeological experiments
13 Neolithic flax production in the pre-Alpine region - Knowledge increase since the
19th century
14 Underrated. Textile-making in Neolithic lakeside settlements in the Northern Alpine
15 Textile materials in the Mesolithic and Neolithic and their processing
16 Raw materials, Textile Technologies, Innovations and Cultural Response in Central
Europe in the 3rd to 1st mill. BC
17 First genetic evidence for the origin of Central European sheep (Ovis ammon f.
aries) populations from two different routes of Neolithisation with contributions to the
history woolly sheep
18 Sheep Husbandry in the Ancient Near East

Reviews & Quotes

"The research will be a valuable resource for those who study the history of clothing and weaving, as well as ethnographers and archaeologists."
Dr. Gulzade Abdulova
Journal of Dress History (25/05/2021)

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