Archaeology and Textiles

COURSE

Course description

Some of the oldest textiles in the world can tell us a lot about how people were living in the past. Unlike stone and metal, threads and cloth often break down fairly quickly at archaeological sites, and dyes and paints can disappear or change colour through time. Archaeological evidence of textiles can still exist, even if the textile is gone (e.g. imprints in clay; remains of weaving and spinning technology like looms and spindle whorls). By considering historical and contemporary textile practices, archaeologists can sometimes gain insights about archaeological contexts and artifacts. In this class we will examine case studies and also include a bit of hands-on learning to help inform our understanding of the archaeological record. Although information in this class can be applied around the world, most case studies discussed will be from European and North American archaeological contexts.

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