The Late Bronze Age (1550 – 1250 B.C.E.) of the eastern Mediterranean was a period of intense exchange of goods, ideas, and men. Movements of people, from trading trips to massive migrations, are well attested in this area between the 13th and the 10th c. B.C.E. However, from an archaeological point of view, identifying people’s identities or defining ethnic extension within territories is not easy and require the use of cultural markers. Such markers are generally sought for within the most utilitarian objects such as cooking pots, who most likely preserve the cultural heritage of its owner.
I propose here to focus on textile tools because they are amongst the most reliable markers since they are culturally specific: as demonstrated by Barber, the use of a high or low spindle-whorl on a spindle directly relates to groups identities, and therefore to their larger geographic origins, each group being convinced that its spinning method is the best.
Of interest for our question is the apparition of almost identical ivory spinning objects in different cultural milieu of the eastern Mediterranean, from the Levant to the Aegean, regions using different spinning methods. A comparative study of these objects focusing on their contexts of consumption will reveal the use of these objects and show if they correspond to the effective presence of near easterners, if they could have been used in a different manner or if they were solely exchange for the value of their constitutive material.
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