Bronze Age moss fibre garments from Scotland – the jury’s out

Harris, S. and Gleba, M. (2015) Bronze Age moss fibre garments from Scotland – the jury’s out. Archaeological Textiles Review(57), pp. 3-11.

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In the light of recent discoveries of early to middle Bronze Age burials with mats and fibrous material in Scotland, for example at Langwell farm and Forteviot, it was deemed timely to re-evaluate earlier finds of this period, several of which were discovered and initially reported on nearly a century ago. As part of this research it was noted that three Bronze Age finds from the old literature were reported as clothing or shrouds made of hair moss (Polytrichum commune). Three of these are reassessed here, with a detailed re-examination of the “hair moss apron” from North Cairn Farm. Technological analysis of this find showed no evidence for the twining previously reported and SEM fibre analysis shows that it is unlikely to be hair moss or indeed Bronze Age. However, there is other evidence for hair moss artefacts from other British Bronze Age and Roman contexts. These suggest it is possible that hair moss fibre was used in Scotland in the Bronze Age, but that the North Cairn Farm fibrous object should no longer be considered among this evidence.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Archaeology, Bronze Age, Textile, Fibre, Fibre identification, Prehistory, Europe, Britain, Scotland
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harris, Dr Susanna
Authors: Harris, S., and Gleba, M.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Archaeological Textiles Review
Publisher:Society of Friends of ATN, hosted by DNRF CTR
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Society of Friends of ATN, hosted by DNRF CTR
First Published:First published in Archaeological Textiles Review 57(3):3-11
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

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