HFAK03256U F.ARK Archaeological Topic A - Textile Archaeology - a hands-on approach

Volume 2017/2018

Throughout prehistory,  textiles were considered valuable goods, being utilized not only  for clothing but also for furnishing, tapestry, tablecloth, bedding, sacks, sails and tents, and in religious rituals. Over time the production, organization and distribution of textiles underwent considerable transformation, although these changes did not take place at the same time and in the same manner all over Europe. Whether the settlement was large or small, textile manufacture would have taken up a great deal of time. Knowledge and ability to produce textiles must have been lodged in more than one individual, and several would have been involved in the production process: the harvesting of fibres, preparing them for spinning, weaving, various finishing processes and finally sewing them into clothing and other products. The manufacturing of textiles was a result of complex interactions between resources and technology within society, and depended on, for example resources, state of technology and needs.

In this course the students will be introduced to and receive basic training in the analysis of textiles and textile technology as well as how new scientific methods and theoretical approaches can be applied to textile research. Furthermore, the course will cover a wide geographic area from Scandinavia to the Middle East.

This course is aimed especially at archaeologists and others interested who will gain knowledge of how to include textiles and textile production in a general archaeological discussion on ancient societies.

For more information about CTR: Centre for Textile Research


Learning Outcome

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the importance of production processes and methods of analysis of textile and textile production in prehistory.

This will enable students specifically to:

  • understand the role of textiles and textile production

  • address and discuss textile and textile production based on analysis of archaeological textiles, textile tools and contexts.

  • understand how results from archaeological textile research can be integrated in a more general archaeological discussion/​​interpretation.

  • gain insight in pertinent  theoretical and methodological approaches in textile research.

Andersson, E. 2003, Tools for Textile Production – from Birka and Hedeby. Stockholm, Birka Studies 8.

Andersson Strand, E. and Nosch, M-L. (eds), 2015, Tools, Textiles and Contexts. Investigating Textile Production in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age. Ancient Textiles Series , Oxbow Books, Oxford. Peer reviewed.

Andersson Strand, E. B., Gebauer Thomsen, L., Cutler, J. 2011, From tools to textiles, a manual for recording, analysing and interpreting textile tools.

Barber, E. J. W. (1991), Prehistoric Textiles. The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bender Jørgensen, L. 1986. Forhistoriske Textiler i Skandinavien. Copenhagen: Det kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftsselskab (Nordiske Fortidsminder Ser B 9).

Bender Jørgensen, L. (1992), North European Textiles until AD 1000. Aarhus. Aarhus University Press.

Gleba, M and Mannering, U. (eds), 2012, Textiles and Textile Production in Europe from Prehistory to AD 400, Ancient Textiles Series 11, Oxford.

Nosch Marie-Louise and Gillis Carole (eds), First Aid for the Excavation of Archaeological Textiles, Ancient Textiles Series 2, Oxford.

Hald, M., 1980. Ancient Danish textiles from bogs and burials, a comparative study of costumes and Iron Age textiles. Copenhagen.

Further bibliography will be provided on the first day of the course and via ABSALON

The teaching involves lectures, practical exercises/training and workshops.
This course is suitable for students in both prehistoric and classical archaeology and international students. It will be obvious to use the course as Archaeological Theme II (Elective study). Curriculum for Master´s Programme in Prehistoric Archaeology. The 2008 Curriculum.
For more information please contact
Eva Andersson Strand
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 0
  • Total
  • 0
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment