First Textiles: The Beginnings of Textile Manufacture in Europe and the Mediterranean [Paperback]

Małgorzata Siennicka (Editor); Lorenz Rahmstorf (Editor); Agata Ulanowska (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789256871 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Ancient Textiles Series | Volume: 32 | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 240p, H280 x W216 (mm)

First Textiles


Textile production and the manufacture of clothing was one of the most essential daily activities in prehistory. Textiles were significant objects of practical use, and at the same time had cultural, social and symbolic meaning, crucial for displaying the identity, gender, social rank and status, or wealth of their users. However, evidence of ancient clothing is scarce due to unfavourable preservation of organic materials. Only occasionally are prehistoric textiles and associated implements preserved, mainly as a result of exceptional environmental conditions, such as waterlogged contexts like bogs, or in very dry or cold climates. In other cases textiles are sporadically mineralised, carbonised or preserved by metal corrosion. Textiles and leather can also be visible as imprints on clay.

The beginning of textile manufacture is still vague, but can be traced back to the upper Palaeolithic. Important developments in textile technology, e.g. weaving, spinning with a spindle, introduction of wool, appeared in Europe and the Mediterranean throughout the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. This book is devoted to the early textile production in Europe and the Mediterranean and aims to collect and investigate the combined evidence of textile and leather remains, tools, workplaces and textile iconography.

The chapters discuss the recent achievements in the research of ancient textiles and textile production, textile techniques such as spinning, fabric and skin manufacture, use of textile tools and experimental textile archaeology. The volume explores important cultural and social aspects of textile production, and its development.

Table of Contents

List of contributors Preface 1. Introduction Małgorzata Siennicka, Lorenz Rahmstorf and Agata Ulanowska 2. Early loom types in ancient societies Eva Andersson Strand 3. Discussing flax domestication in Europe using biometric measurements on recent and archaeological flax seeds – a pilot study Sabine Karg, Axel Diederichsen and Simon Jeppson 4. From adorned nudity to a dignitary’s wardrobe: symbolic raiment in the southern Levant 13 500 BC–3900 BC Janet Levy 5. The earliest cloth culture in Denmark Ulla Mannering 6. Loom weights and weaving at the archaeological site of São Pedro (Redondo, Portugal) Catarina Costeira and Rui Mataloto 7. Evidence of textile technology in the Early Neolithic site of La Draga (Banyoles, Spain). Some hypotheses Miriam de Diego, Raquel Piqué, Antoni Palomo, Xavier Terradas, Maria Saña, Ignacio Clemente and Millán Mozota 8. From east to west: the use of spinning bowls from the Chalcolithic period to the Iron Age María Irene Ruiz de Haro 9. From the loom to the forge. Elements of power at the end of Neolithic in western Europe: a focus on textile activities Fabienne Médard 10. Textile manufacture in the prehistoric pile dwellings of south-west Germany: planned investigation Johanna Banck-Burgess 11. Late Neolithic weaving tools from Melk-Spielberg in Austria: experiments with crescent-shaped weights Karina Grömer 12. Two sides of a whorl. Unspinning the meanings and functionality of Eneolithic textile tools Ana Grabundžija 13. Plant textiles in a grave mound of the Early Bronze Age in eastern Romania Neculai Bolohan and Ciprian-Cătălin Lazanu 14. Social contexts of textile production in Bulgaria during the Late Chalcolithic: from multimedia work-areas to material, social and cultural transformations Petya Hristova 15. Experimenting with loom weights. More observations on the functionality of Early Bronze Age textile tools from Greece Agata Ulanowska 16. Textile tools and manufacture in the Early Bronze Age Cyclades: evidence from Amorgos and Keros Giorgos Gavalas 17. Fibre crafts and social complexity: yarn production in the Aegean islands in the Early Bronze Age Sophia Vakirtzi 18. In search of ‘invisible’ textile tools and techniques of band weaving in the Bronze Age Aegean Agata Ulanowska 19. The Early Bronze Age textile implements from the Eskişehir region in inland north-western Anatolia Deniz Sarı 20. Investigating continuity and change in textile making at Arslantepe (Malatya, Turkey) during the 4th and 3rd millennia BC Romina Laurito

Reviews & Quotes

"This is an important, well-illustrated and well-edited publication that I highly recommend to anyone interested in prehistory and ancient protohistory."
Panagiota Markoulaki
Revue de l’Archéologie du Vêtement et du Costume (06/09/2021)

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