Woven textiles and the loom

Twines, weaves, nets, looms – Pavlov Hills, Czech Republic 25 000 BC

Woven textiles was being produced on looms 25 000 BC, the oldest known textiles.

Scientists found 90 fragments of cloth impressions in hardened clay, thought to have made an impression on the clay when people sat down in wet clay for example. The fragments were recovered from numerous sites across the Pavlov Hills, Czech Republic which used to be the homes of the Gravettian people who roamed between Southern Russia and Spain some 22 000 and 29 000 years ago.

Various weaving techniques were noticed, ranging from open and closed twines, plain weave and nets. The plain weave can only be made with a loom according to Professor Olga Soffer, an Anthropologist involved with the project.

What happened to the advanced technologies here?  When the weather turned colder the archaeological records end as ice sheets and glaciers moved in and the people moved out. The technology went silent for the next 10 000+ years before reappearing in records.

 

Basket Weaving, Egypt, 8 000 BC

While basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say just how old the craft is, because natural materials like wood, grass, and animal remains decay naturally and constantly. So without proper preservation, much of the history of basket making has been lost and is simply speculated upon.

The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years old, earlier than any established dates for archaeological finds of pottery, and were discovered in Faiyum in upper Egypt.  Other baskets have been discovered in the Middle East that are up to 7,000 years old.

 

 

Fort Rock Sandals, Oregon, North America 7 300 BC

The first time we see textiles again is a pair of shoes made of twined sagebrush bark, with a flat sole and a toe wrap that was found in the Fort Rock Basin, Oregon, North America. Several specimens have been found, with the oldest believed to be somewhere between 9,300 and 10,000 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Woven skirt, Armenia, 3 900 BC

Only a fragment of the skirt survives and is made from woven reeds. It was found in a cave, Areni-1, where the oldest pair of leather shoes have also been found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tarkhan Dress, Egypt, 3 000 BC

Dating from the First Dynasty or Old Kingdom period, the dress (or tunic) is made of linen (therefore featuring the earliest known textile fabric used for clothing), and features tightly pleated sleeves and a yoke stitched to a skirt. It is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:  New York Times, National GeographicUniversity of Oregon, Wikipedia,  BBC News