Early History of Textiles & Clothing


These links are collected in an opportunistic way and are in no sense comprehensive.

Textiles and Clothing in the Palaeolithic

Clothing of figurines may be record of Ice Age tribes' skills
By Byron Spice, June 21, 1999
"These odd and mysterious figurines suggest that people living 26,000 years ago possessed well-developed weaving skills that were at least as valuable to the community as the strength and prowess of male hunters. Even the head dress worn by the Venus of Willendorf arguably reflects social traditions still seen today in the babushkas worn by women in Eastern Europe or even the bonnets favored by Amish women in Pennsylvania."

Upper Palaeolithic fibre technology: interlaced woven finds from Pavlov I, Czech Republic, c. 26,000 years
Antiquity, 1996, vol. 70, no 269, pp. 526-534.
"The later Palaeolithic sites of Moravia, the region of the Czech Republic west of Prague and north of Vienna, continue
to provide remarkable new materials. To the art mobilier for which Dolni Vestonice and Pavlov have been celebrated,
there has recently been added the technologies of groundstone and ceramics - and now woven materials, interlaced
basketry or textiles, again of a kind one expects only from a quite later era."

Material World by Roger Lewin.
New Scientist, 165, 6 May 2000, 34-35.
"But Adovasio, from Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, and his colleagues want to rewrite the history books. They have discovered what look like carvings of woven fabric detailed on the figurines. If they are correct, it means that textiles were being made long before anyone ever suspected. ... "

The "Venus" Figurines by Olga Soffer, James Adovasio and David Hyland.
Current Anthopology, August 2000, 41(4), 511-537.
"Detailed studies of a series of figurines indicate the presence of at least three types of dressed female depictions. These include several types of headgear, various body bandeaux, and at least one type of skirt. Using data from Europe, we argue that the garments portrayed were made of plant fibers and that their exquisite detailing reflects the important role played by textiles in Upper Paleolithic cultures."

Textiles and Clothing in the Neolithic

The oldest preserved textile from the Neolithic/Eneolithic in Central /Northern Europe
The find is of carbonized fragments of Neolithic/Eneolithic cloth from the Funnel Beaker culture. The textile exhibits extraordinarily fine craftsmanship. It probably dates to 3500 + - 150 cal BC. However, no textile from this time period has as yet been radiocarbon dated.

Materials Analyses of the Oldest Persevered Textile from the Neolithic/Eneolithic in Central / Northern Europe
by Kathryn Jakes, August 20, 1999
The textile is probably a plain woven fabric made from flax.

Iceman Oetzi Wore High-Tech Shoes
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News, Feb. 23, 2005
Ötzi, the copper ax-wielding iceman found frozen in the Alps where he had trekked over 5,300 years ago, wore high-tech snowshoes, according to a closer look at artifacts found with his remains.

Trinkaus, E. Anatomical evidence for the antiquity of human footwear use, Journal of Archaeological Science, 32(10), October 2005, 1515-1526

Trinkaus E. and Shang, H. Anatomical evidence for the antiquity of human footwear: Tianyuan and Sunghir, Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(7), July 2008, 1928-1933.


Textiles and Clothing in the Bronze Age

Clothing and hair styles of the Bog People
Archaeology online, 1997

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