Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2014

1 August 2015

Prehistoric, Ancient Near Eastern & Aegean Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology

Edited by Mary Harlow, Cecile Michel & Marie-Louise Nosch

Prehistoric, Ancient Near Eastern & Aegean Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology

City: Oxford

Year: 2014

Publisher: Oxbow Books

Series: Ancient Textiles Series 18

Description: Hardback, 308 p., b/w and colour illustrations, 27,9x21,5 cm


Textile and dress production, from raw materials to finished items, has had a significant impact on society from its earliest history. The essays in this volume offer a fresh insight into the emerging interdisciplinary research field of textile and dress studies by discussing archaeological, iconographical and textual evidence within a broad geographical and chronological spectrum.

The thirteen chapters explore issues, such as the analysis of textile tools, especially spindle whorls, and textile imprints for reconstructing textile production in contexts as different as Neolithic Transylvania, the Early Bronze Age North Aegean and the Early Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean; the importance of cuneiform clay tablets as a documentary source for both drawing a detailed picture of the administration of a textile industry and for addressing gender issues, such as the construction of masculinity in the Sumerian kingdoms of the 3rd millennium BC; and discussions of royal and priestly costumes and clothing ornaments in the Mesopotamian kingdom of Mari and in Mycenaean culture. Textile terms testify to intensive exchanges between Semitic and Indo-European languages, especially within the terminology of trade goods. The production and consumption of textiles and garments are demonstrated in 2nd millennium Hittite Anatolia; from 1st millennium BC Assyria, a cross-disciplinary approach combines texts, realia and iconography to produce a systematic study of golden dress decorations; and finally, the important discussion of fibres, flax and wool, in written and archaeological sources is evidence for delineating the economy of linen and the strong symbolic value of fibre types in 1st millennium Babylonia and the Southern Levant.

The volume is part of a pair together with Greek and Roman Textiles and Dress: An Interdisciplinary Anthology edited by Mary Harlow and Marie-Louise Nosch.



1. Paula Mazǎre, Investigating Neolithic and Copper Age textile production in Transylvania (Romania). Applied Methods and Results [1-42]

2. Sophia Vakirtzi, Chaido Koukouli–Chryssanthaki & Stratis Papadopoulos, Spindle whorls from two prehistoric settlements on Thassos, North Aegean [43-56]

3. Richard Firth, Textiles Texts of the Lagaš II period [57-73]

4. Ariane Thomas, In Search of lost costumes. On royal attire in Ancient Mesopotamia with special reference to the Amorite [74-96]

5. Giulia Baccelli, Benedetta Bellucci & Matteo Vigo, Elements for a comparative study of textile production and use in Hittite Anatolia and in neighbouring areas [97-142]

6. Eleni Konstantinidi-Syvridi, Buttons, pins, clips and belts … ‘Inconspicuous’ dress accessories from the burial context of the Mycenaean period (16th-12th cent. BC) [143-157]

7. Valentina Gasbarra, Textile semitic loanwords in Mycenaean as Wanderwörter [158-166]

8. Agnès Garcia-Ventura, Constructing masculinities through textile production in the Ancient Near East [167-183]

9. Caroline Sauvage, Spindles and distaffs: Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean use of solid and tapered ivory/bone shafts [184-226]

10. Salvatore Gaspa, Golden decorations in Assyrian textiles: An Interdisciplinary Approach [227-244]

11. Tina Boloti, E-ri-ta’s dress: Contribution to the study of the Mycenaean priestesses’ attire [245-270]

12. Louise Quillien, Flax and linen in the first millennium Babylonia BC: The origins, craft industry and uses of a remarkable textile [271-296]

13. Orit Shamir, Two special traditions in Jewish garments and the rarity of mixing wool and linen threads in the land of Israel [297-308]


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