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Old Textiles – New Possibilities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2017

Eva Andersson Strand
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Karin Margarita Frei
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Margarita Gleba
University College London, UK
Ulla Mannering
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Marie-Louise Nosch
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Irene Skals
National Museum of Denmark


Textile research has become an important field of archaeology. Although the established analytical methods are often viewed as specialized, their integration with other interdisciplinary approaches allows us to deal with broader archaeological issues and provides the interpretational base for a much more comprehensive investigation of textiles in ancient times. Analyses of fibres, dyes, archaeobotanical and archaeozoological remains, as well as palaeoenvironmental and geochemical investigations, provide information about available resources, while tool studies, experimental testing, and visual grouping are approaches that explore the technology and techniques. Together, these approaches can provide new knowledge about textile production and consumption and, thereby, about people and society in ancient times.

La recherche textile est devenue un domaine important de l'archéologie. Bien que les méthodes analytiques en vigueur soient souvent considérées comme spécialisées, leur combinaison à d'autres approches interdisciplinaires nous permet de traiter des questions archéologiques plus générales et apporte une base à interprétation pour étudier beaucoup plus en détail les textiles provenant des temps anciens. Des analyses de fibres, de teintures et de résidus archéobotaniques et archéozoologiques ainsi que des enquêtes paléoenvironnementales et géochimiques fournissent des informations sur les ressources disponibles, tandis que des études d'outils, des tests expérimentaux et le groupement visuel explorent technologie et techniques. La combinaison de ces deux approches peut apporter de nouvelles connaissances sur la production et la consommation de textiles, et de ce fait, sur les hommes et la société d'autrefois.



Textilforschung ist zu einem bedeutenden Feld der Archäologie geworden. Obwohl die angewendeten analytischen Methoden oftmals als spezialisiert angesehen werden, erlaubt uns ihre Integration in andere interdisziplinäre Ansätze, weiterführende archäologische Fragestellungen zu behandeln und bietet die Deutungsbasis für eine wesentlich umfassendere Erforschung antiker Textilien. Analysen von Fasern, Farben, archäobotanischen und archäozoologischen Resten wie auch umweltgeschichtliche und geochemische Untersuchungen erbringen Informationen über zugängliche Ressourcen, während Werkzeugstudien, experimentelle Arbeiten und visuelle Gruppierungen Ansätze sind, die Technologien und Techniken erforschen. Gemeinsam können diese Methoden neue Erkenntnisse über die Textilproduktion und -nutzung – und dabei über die Menschen und die Gesellschaft in früheren Zeiten – liefern.

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