Marie Skłodowska-Curie Projects

Trans-PLANT: Transformational uses of dye plants on Linear B tablets. New approaches to cultural identity and technologies in the Bronze Age Aegean

By Rachele Pierini, 

The Trans-PLANT project aims to demonstrate how the knowledge coming from transformational uses of dyes transcends how the final product is perceived visually to address what is being communicated culturally. The project will explore the inter-relations between linguistics, history of science, and archaeology to analyse dye plants, technologies transforming them, and dyed goods like textiles and perfumed oil. In particular, I focus on:

  • Dyes terminology
    This analysis aims to examine dye plants in Linear B texts and use this terminology as a model of linguistic interaction to define transculturation by combining Aegean epigraphy with research on ancient technologies, cross-craft, cross-cultural textiles, and archaeology.
  • Technical knowledge and cultural identities
    • The first part of this section aims to investigate cross-craft and cross-cultural interactions by combining the reconstruction of the Mycenaean chaîne opératoire of dying in textiles and perfumed oils with the cultural dimension of these goods in Mycenaean and Minoan society;
    • The second part of this section aims to analyse roles and functions of particular colours in dyed goods like textiles and perfumed oils to show the dimension of coloured goods as a cultural media communicating identity, status, power, and gender.

The Trans-PLANT project will gather new information on ancient technologies and identities and will enable new discussion on vegetal dyes and the transfer of knowledge by proving new data on Linguistics, Aegean Epigraphy, History of Science, and Experimental Archaeology.

TEX-KR: Making and Unmaking of Textiles during the Khmer Rouge Regime

By Magali An Berthon

TEX-KR explores textile production and dress practices in Cambodia from the early 1960s to the early 1980s, especially examining the years of the Khmer Rouge regime. This dictatorship claimed nearly two million lives between 1975 and 1979. In that period, textile ancestral crafts were heavily impacted by halting sericulture, silk weaving, and skills transmission. Combining object-based study, archival research, and participatory methodologies, this project aims to center textile know-how, artefacts, and clothing practices as crucial material evidence of this dark heritage.

The project is grounded in museum-based research in Cambodia’s leading cultural institutions, namely the National Museum of Cambodia and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The National Museum of Cambodia was closed in the 1970s, and by its reopening in 1979, it had lost three-quarters of its extensive textile collection of precious handcrafted silks. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was established on the secret Khmer Rouge prison site S-21, where about 18,000 prisoners were killed, leaving behind thousands of textiles and clothing remains that have been recently reintegrated into the museum’s collection. Historical research will contextualize the loss and reclamation of these collections as by-products of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, embodying two complementary sides of this traumatic period of human, cultural, and artistic destruction. TEX-KR aims to develop an innovative sensory methodology incorporating materiality, emotions and memory to study sensitive textile artefacts in a Cambodian context with the potential to inform other histories of conflict.

The project will involve close collaborations at the University of Copenhagen, especially with CTR co-founder and textile historian Dr Marie Louise Nosch and Dr Thomas Brudholm from the Institute for Intercultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) on the topic of textiles and emotions in the context of mass atrocities.

Wikimedia Commons (Khmer Rouge uniforms )