West and East – University of Copenhagen

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West and East: Textile technologies and identities in the 1st millennium B.C. South Italy and Cyprus

Project by Hedvig Landenius Enegren

The project explores textile tool technology in the Iron Age in regions with a similarly culturally mixed heritage. My interest lies in the socio-cultural dynamics between indigenous people and the ‘colonising’ contingents of new settler populations. Is there a real dichotomy between the two or is the picture rather more nuanced? Experimental and ethno-archaeology have opened up new research means to assess tool technology in antiquity.

Thus the project looks at the technological parameters of textile tools, i.a. loom weights and spindle whorls, uncovered in the archaeological record at chosen sites in the regions mentioned, with a view to see any cultural divergences and patterns that may appear.


The huge economic impact and importance of textiles in the ancient world is often overlooked since they only survive in the archaeological record if certain specific environmental conditions have been met. However, the tools used to produce them can actually tell us quite a bit about the textiles once manufactured at a given site.
Moreover, I assess agency theory within this textile research context and by extension place textile tools within a wider social framework.