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Textile Fibre in Italy Before Roman Empire


The FIBRE project investigates the development and use of textile fibres in Italy from prehistory until the Roman period. Wool and flax fibres constitute a nexus between agriculture and textile craft, two of the oldest and socio-economically most important human technologies. Issues addressed through the investigation of archaeological fibre include ancient agriculture, husbandry, trade and economy, development of new strategies of fibre acquisition, diversification and spread of sheep breeds throughout Europe. Yet, ancient fibres have never been investigated in this complex context. Ancient Italy serves as this project’s point of departure since by Roman times it produced some of the best wool and linen but is the least investigated area in European fibre and textile archaeology. The FIBRE Project examines the various sources of information available for the investigation of ancient fibre, including archaeological textiles, archaeobotanical and archaeozoological assemblages, palaeoecological and geological record, as well as ancient literary and iconographic sources The objectives of the project are to elucidate endogenous development of textile fibres in Italy and their spread throughout Europe and the Mediterranean; to evaluate the old and to develop new fibre analytical methods and ways of interpreting obtained data; to integrate fibre studies into research of broader archaeological questions. The project aim is thus to demonstrate the potential of archaeological fibre for the investigation of ancient craft and agriculture, thereby having a major impact on archaeometric methodology, textile and fibre archaeology and European economic and agricultural history.

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UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute for Women’s Health
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 236 933,20
Administrative Contact
Greta Borg-Carbott (Ms.)