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Cloth, glass and stone: Innovation and cultural connections in the Middle Ages

Piecing together the puzzle of socio-economic relationships in the Middle Ages by tracing the use of three media – what can cloth, glass and stone tell us about the societies that created, traded and appreciated them?


The objects we have around us tell us much about who we are: what we can manufacture, what is considered desirable, what we can afford, what we can produce, and export, and our trade routes. The past is shadowy but the objects that mattered to the societies that came before us illuminate those who produced and used them in the same way. So, this episode we are considering cloth, glass and stone, and what they reveal about innovation and cultural connections in the Middle Ages. What can textile production in Romano-Byzantine Egypt tell us about that culture? Who wove what, and how? Glass is a demanding medium, both technologically and logistically, and how it was used in Byzantine and Islamic cultures shines a light on their aesthetics and innovations. The way glass was used reveals cultural dynamics as do the medieval headstones in the Western Balkans. What do these weathered stones tell us about how different cultures in this period lived alongside each other? These and other questions are explored by this episode’s three guests: Nadine Schibille, the principal investigator on the GlassRoutes project which investigated the geopolitical, sociocultural and artistic dimensions of glass in the first millennium CE. Maria Mossakowska-Gaubert, the principal investigator on the MONTEX project, which considered the culture surrounding textile use and production in Egypt from the Ptolemaic to the early Arab period. And, Saša Čaval, whose project SOLMUS looked at the social features of the medieval burial stones in the Western Balkans, erected over 500 years ago, locally called stećci. Where to download? You can access and download this episode right now through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your favourite feeds. You can also keep track of all our podcasts through the CORDIS website at If you have any feedback, we’re always happy to hear from you! Send us any comments, questions or suggestions (but hopefully never a complaint!) to the usual email address,


CORDIScovery, CORDIS, Middle Ages, medieval, societies, glass, stećci, stone, cloth, textile