Cloth culture in the Middle Neolithic of northern Italy with special reference to basketry (c.4900-4250 BC).

Harris, S. (2014) Cloth culture in the Middle Neolithic of northern Italy with special reference to basketry (c.4900-4250 BC). In: Pearce, M. and Whitehouse, R. D. (eds.) Rethinking the Italian Neolithic. Series: Accordia Research Papers, 13 (13). Accordia Research Institute, University of London, pp. 103-130. ISBN 9781873415405

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The prehistory of the Neolithic and Copper Age of northern Italy is mainly told through the testimony of durable artefacts: pottery, stone and bone. With the exception of a few noteworthy finds, cloth is rarely considered. Of these the most significant was the discovery over twenty years ago of a frozen man and equipment of predominantly organic materials from Similaun, Val Senales (BZ) dated to c. 3300 cal.BC, which stimulated discussion about the types of cloth used for clothing in the Copper Age. Particular attention was paid to the absence of woven textiles and the idea that a form of twined basketry made from grass was used as a cape. About a decade later, an exhibition entitled “Textiles: intrecci e tessuti dalla preistoria europea” held at the Museo Civico di Riva del Garda brought together archaeobotanists and textile researchers who focused, among other topics, on the evidence of tools for weaving textiles and on flax as a fibre source in northern Italy from the Early Neolithic. While this work has added significantly to the evidence and debates surrounding the types and role of cloth in the Neolithic, the evidence and understanding of the topic remains patchy. The Middle Neolithic seems to fall into one gap in the scholarship, as it is too early to justify comparison with the Iceman and too late to be associated with Early Neolithic flax. Nonetheless, some form of cloth must have existed in these societies. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to bring together recent research and new data to question the types of cloth that were used in the Middle Neolithic of northern Italy.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Archaeology, Italy, Prehistory, Artefacts, Basketry
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harris, Dr Susanna
Authors: Harris, S.
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:Accordia Research Papers
Publisher:Accordia Research Institute, University of London

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
Cloth Cultures of Prehistoric EuropeSusanna HarrisBritish AcademyUNSPECIFIED