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Textile production in Bronze Age Greece – comparative studies of the Aegean weaving techniques

Project information


Project title: Textile production in Bronze Age Greece – comparative studies of the Aegean weaving techniques

Project lead: Dr Agata Ulanowska

Project financing: FUGA. Post-doctoral internship of the National Science Centre in Poland


e-mail: a.ulanowska@uw.edu.pl



Project implementation


Institutions involved:

Centre for Research on Ancient Technologies in Łódź

Researchers involved:

dr Agata Ulanowska - Post-Doc
Prof. dr hab. Jerzy Maik - Supervisor





Research objectives:

The main objective of the research project "Textile production in Bronze Age Greece – comparative studies of the Aegean weaving techniques" is to investigate the level of technical advancement and specialization of textile craft in Greece in the third and the second millennia BCE.
Textile production has been one of the key crafts in the Aegean Bronze Age because of its complex and time-consuming technology, high level of direct involvement of society in all operational sequences of production and economic and symbolic importance of textiles. However, the overall level of the specialization of textile craft has not yet been approached from the technical angle, being though intensively analyzed in terms of various professional designations of textile workers recorded in Linear B archives of Mycenaean palaces.
In my project I aim to fill up this gap by investigating and defining textile techniques of the Aegean Bronze Age and, subsequently, by evaluating the level of their technical advancement, standardization, and by characterizing specialist requirements of a necessary equipment.

My aims will be achieved by completing a series of research tasks, described as following:

1. Comparative studies of Bronze Age archaeological textiles.

In this task parameters and structure of archaeological textiles from Bronze Age Greece will be compared with technical parameters of other textiles from Bronze Age archaeological contexts which have been produced from similar fibres, such as wool and flax and by use of similar implements, such as the warp weighted loom.
A piece of experimentally woven fabric of parameters coping the structure of three fragments of an archaeological textile from the shaft grave N of Circle B in Mycenae (National Archaeological Museum of Athens, catalogue numbers 8591, 8592 & 8589) will be executed and evaluated in terms of its technical requirements.

2. Investigating the techniques of use of textile tools and evaluating specialization or multi-functionality of tools; mapping their spatial and diachronic distribution patterns

Technical analysis of the functionality of textile tools in advanced weaving techniques.
Comparative studies of specialized implements from Bronze Age Greece and Anatolia.

3. Investigating iconography of textile weaves and patterns in Aegean art; reconstruction of weaving and decoration techniques based on the imagery of textiles.

Examining imagery of patterns and weaves.
Technical and aesthetic evaluation of experimentally woven samples of textile patterns and weaves executed to imitate the iconographic motifs.

4. Comparative studies of ergonomics of weaving techniques; examining of the level of standardization or specialization of weaving technology.

Innovative aspects and research outcomes of the project:

The research results of the project will contribute to our knowledge about textile technology and fabrics produced in Bronze Age Greece and they will introduce a novel data into academic discourse about the level of specialization of textile craft in the Aegean cultures. The results will particularly enhance the following new horizons in the research:

New prospects in studies on organization and specialization of textile production in Bronze Age Greece.
Broader comparative approach to textile technology including new experimentally generated analogies.
Deeper understanding of the materiality of culture by linking up reconstructed textile techniques and archaeologically preserved tools.
Deeper understanding of textile technology and socio-cultural position of textile workers, including the substantial role of women in textile craft.