Friday 23 May 2008

Iris Tzachili
University of Crete

Weaving in the Bronze Age Aegean. New questions and new fields
Over the last decade, studies on subjects connected with weaving have flourished, following the realization of the importance and widespread nature of these occupations. Greater attention has been given to archaeological textile scraps of cloth, and to the remains of the trappings of weaving.
Advances have been made in the following areas:
1. Many decades after the decipherment of Linear B, it is only recently that an attempt has been made to link the wealth of evidence for weaving in the Mycenaean archives with the archaeological remains, at least on a geographical level. There are many interesting convergences and divergences.
2. Throughout the Bronze Age, weaving implements (loom-weights as loom components, and spindle-whorls as part of the spindle) essentially remained of the same forms. However, this must not lead us to mistaken assumptions. The cycle of textile production is not a cohesive, undifferentiated process; there are differences and advances. Weaving took on different forms both socially and technologically, which are indicated by differences in the tools, not on a morphological, but rather on a quantitative level and in find locations. Only in the Late Bronze Age does the picture acquire the typical form we know from both the remains of implements and the archives. At the same time we have a corresponding picture – albeit a partial one – of textile production in Aegean representations.
3. The study of kindred crafts and the awareness of the great plethora of areas involved in textile production (textile fibres, dyes etc.). Recently, efforts are being made to identify fibres, (a process that only happened in northern Europe and the East) an aspect which is full of great surprises chiefly concerning the diversity both of provenance and processing.
4. The detection of cloth remains (so far, at Thera, Chania and Mochlos), which are now turning up everywhere, mainly on Mycenaean bronze grave gifts. Details begin to indicate the ways in which the complex textiles of Minoan dress were woven.
5. The awareness of the importance of textiles for trade, and the extent of state intervention in textile production, which corresponds well with the evidence from the Middle East (mainly with regard to Assyrian trade).
6. The importance of the particular fashion in textiles; and Aegean attire, which was so different from the rest of the Mediterranean (see Egypt).


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...