Within the scope of this project, two dissertations investigated indirect archaeological evidence of textile production in two separate study areas: the Near East and the South East and Central Europe.
Due to the rareness of actual textile evidence, the majority of research in the frame of prehistoric textile archaeology relies on different indirect sources of information for the purpose of investigating raw materials. Unlike perishable direct evidence, textile tools are well represented in the prehistoric contexts across the investigated regions.
In order to explore the introduction of fleece baring sheep husbandry and the early use of wool, both dissertation projects were focused on examining major changes in textile technologies that could be associated with the new textile fibre material use. Early textile productions necessarily relied on raw material availability and the level of different textile fibres procurement strategies. Textile fibre treatment and processing depended on both the nature and the quality of the resources, as well as on the desired end products. Conveniently, different modes of use left recognizable traces in the archaeological record.
Research results report on the two large textile tool samples compiled from the two separate regionally-based site clusters that were investigated within the doctoral projects (A-4-1-1) Early Wool Processing in South East and Central Europe and (A-4-1-2) Wool in Western Asia. In both cases, a functional analysis of the recorded spindle-whorls was applied as a basis for investigating different fibre material exploitation patterns. Final comparative analysis of the investigated tools between the two study areas enabled recognizing and describing different technological trends and developments of the fibre production. Better understanding of technological flexibility, observed through tools’ adaptability in altering socio-cultural circumstances and environmental conditions, is the main contribution of the textile tool studies within the research group (A-4) Textile Revolution.
The relevance of the conducted archaeological study lies mainly in its multi-regional and ‘cross-cultural’ characteristics; working within the particular sets of indirect archaeological evidence, specifically chosen on the basis of their association with fibre processing, enabled the analysis of a large number of textile tools from remote geographical areas.
The main objectives of the textile tool analysis and the comparison of the two regions was focused on evaluating the causality of environmental and socio-cultural factors involved in the observed technological adaptations and advancements. Since the complexity of investigating the spread of new fibre material(s) production relies mainly on proxy indicators and the integration of different research fields, in this ongoing phase of research, the results of the spindle-whorl analysis are being correlated with geographical, archaeozoological, archaeobotanical and climatological findings. Finally, a more in depth study of the fibre resources specialization and the development of textile craftsmanship in the two research areas aims to elaborate wider economic contexts for the proposed “textile revolution” scenario. Large size of the spindle-whorl samples increased the potential for detecting main distribution patterns of the observed technological changes.
In order to better understand the main factors which influenced wool exploitation dynamics within multiple fibre resource options, the final synthesis of the results will address environmental conditioning, technological adaptation, cultural dependency and social flux connected to the fibre procurement practices.
- Research project (A-4-1-1) Early Wool Processing in South East and Central Europe
- Research project (A-4-1-2) Wool in Western Asia