Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean

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Princeton University Press, 1991 - Social Science - 471 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

The Domestication of Fibers
9
Flax
11
Hemp
15
Nettle and Other Bast Fibers
19
Wool
20
Other Hair Fibers
30
Cotton
32
Esparto
33
Denmark
176
Germany Holland and Britain
184
7 The Textile Weaves 4 The Iron Age
186
Greece Anatolia and the Steppes
196
The Textile Weaves 5 As Overall View
210
Felt and Felting
215
Dyes
223
Dye Processed
225

The Archaeolinguistics of Hemp
36
Spinning
39
Spinning Drafting and Splicing
41
The Evidence for Spindles and Whorls
51
Other Accoutrements
68
Looms and Weaving
79
The GroundLoom
83
The WarpWeighted Loom
91
The Vertical TwoBeam Loom
113
Band Looms
116
TabletWeaving
118
Sprang
122
Conclusions
124
The Textile Weaves 1 The Beginning
126
Neolithic Europe
133
The Textile Weaves 2 Egypt
145
The Later 18th Dynasty Techniques
156
The Textile Weaves 3 The Bronze Age
163
Mesopotamia
164
The Levant
165
Anatolia the Caucasus and the Aegean
166
Italy France and Spain
174
Some Dyes
227
Some Colors
229
Mordants
235
DyeWorks
239
DISCUSSIONS
245
Introduction to Part II
247
Beginnings Revisted
249
Word Excavation
260
Womens Work
283
The Weight Chase
299
Minoans Mycenaeans and Keftiu
311
And Penelope?
358
Coda
383
APPENDICES
385
The Loom Weights Data Table and Its Bibliography for Chapter 3
387
The Hollow Whorls List and Its Bibliography for Chapter 14
391
Aegean Representations of Cloth List and Its Bibliography for Chapter 15
394
Egyptian Tomba with Aegean Data List and Its Bibliography for Chapter 15
396
Bibliography
397
Index
431
Copyright

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Page 402 - CA, and DM Lang. 1971. The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and the Caucasus (London). Burnham, Harold B. 1964. "The World's Oldest Textiles.
Page 406 - A supplement to the Topographical catalogue of the private tombs of Thebes (nos. 253-334) with some notes on the necropolis from 1913 to 1924.

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About the author (1991)

E.J.W. Barber is Professor of Linguistics and Archaeology at Occidental College and is a handweaver. Prehistoric Textiles won the Millia Davenport Publication Award of the Costume Society of America.

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