Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


Friday, 23 February 2018, 19:00

Clothing and textile crafts in the Aegean Neolithic. Experimentations, technology, and design (lecture in Greek)

Swedish Institute at Athens (Mitseon 9, Athens)

The Aegean Neolithic textile crafts are obscure since no actual fabrics have been discovered; consequently, the available information is only indirect. What we know is some basic archaeological evidence for textile technology, namely some easily diagnostic textile tools made of stable materials, such as clay and stone, and from sewing implements made of bone. Based on these groups of finds, we know that household textile industries existed since the Early Neolithic, while the use of the vertical warp-weighted loom, as we know it from the later periods, appears much later.

The open technological questions relate to the raw materials used for the production of fibres, to the weaving techniques and styles, and to potential but so far undiagnostic tools that might be related to textile production. Crucial questions are: 1) which was the earliest loom type(s), before the appearance of the warp-weighted loom, and 2) when the sheep wool first started to be used for the production of fibres.

Even less traceable is the evidence that could lead us to the reconstruction of Neolithic garments. The information comes exclusively from the interpretation of the decoration of a small group of figurines, which, although limited, correspond to similar finds in the wider Balkan region. A careful observation allows us to distinguish specific costume details and types of clothes fairly advanced for their time, which did not continue into the following periods, while some of their elements show sporadic survivals in the Bronze Age.

The lecture will address the evidence for a reconstruction of textile arts and crafts, will assess the technological level and cognitive background of the craftspeople, and will attempt a first approach to the dress culture and the clothing traditions of Neolithic Greece.



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