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The knowledge and know-how involved in ancient textiles

Researchers investigated how the natural sciences, humanities and technical skilled practices are combined in the study of ancient textiles. They highlighted the relationship between knowledge and know-how.
The knowledge and know-how involved in ancient textiles
A hybrid field of study, made possible with the mobilization of several disciplines, was needed to ask pertinent questions regarding the methods and knowing practices involved in studying ancient archaeological textiles. It was necessary to answer how theoretical tools and technical skills are made available in all areas of textile studies and how they are coordinated and interconnected. Hence, the EU-funded project TEXTILESTUDIES (Textile studies: Questions and issues between knowledge and knowhow) conducted an anthropological study combined with an ethnographic enquiry.

This was two-fold. It focused on scholarly literature, schemas and practices with a special emphasis on archaeology, philology, history of technology for the humanities, and geology and biology for the natural sciences. It also centred on textile objects and techniques such as artefacts, materials, tools and processes. This involved analysis of the experimental protocols, experience-based practices and hands-on approaches used by craftspeople focused on the textile chaîne opératoire and cours d’action.

Interviews and observations took place in European universities, research centres and institutions. Participants included scholars, technicians, curators, professional weavers and craftspeople. The textile technology, techniques and technical system were analysed from structural, historical and functional points of view. Additionally, the knowing practices, structures and devices implied in the study of the archaeological textiles were described and researched in a symmetrical way according to TEXTILESTUDIES objectives.

Research workshops and events were organised, including two scientific workshops. The collaborations helped to enhance the understanding of highly specialised knowledge involved in the field. This can improve the analysis of knowledge production in the sciences as well as in the humanities, thus bridging the gap of knowledge in the field of archaeological textiles.

Related information


Ancient textiles, TEXTILESTUDIES, anthropological, ethnographic, artefacts
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