PhD fellow Cecilie Brøns – University of Copenhagen

Gods and Garments. Textiles in Greek Sanctuaries in the first millennium BC

PhD fellow Cecilie Brøns

Textiles are an established part of several scientific studies within classical archaeology, but their role in ancient Greek cult and sacred economy has not yet been examined.
The purpose of the project is therefore to investigate the cultic use of textiles, such as the dedication of clothing items and the dressing of cult statues, as well as the production of textiles in Greek sanctuaries. This study seeks to determine whether or not certain types of textiles were dedicated, that is if certain garments, colours or fibres dominated, and if this type of votive gift was reserved for certain deities, cults or geographical areas. Furthermore, the project investigates if textiles were produced in sanctuaries, and their role in ancient sacred economy.

Since textiles from the first millennium are rarely preserved in the Aegean, the study is based on a range of secondary sources such as fibulas and dress pins dedicated in great numbers in certain sanctuaries. One of these is the sanctuary of Lindos on Rhodes, where 1592 fibulas were recovered during the Danish excavations in the beginning of the 20th century. Other sources employed are epigraphy, such as temple inventories, and literary sources, which provide ample evidence for dedication of textiles as well as their use for dressing cult statues and for priestly garments. Furthermore, several iconographic representations such ad vase painting and sculpture will be included as a source to the cultic use of textiles. Finally, textile tools such as spindle whorls and loom weights are recovered from several sanctuaries. These will be examined to determine whether textiles were actually produced in certain sanctuaries or if they were simply given as votives, and how this potential production affected ancient economy.

The aim of the project is thus to gain a greater knowledge of the use and production of textiles in sanctuaries and their significance in Greek cult and religion.

The PhD project is part of the TEMA (Textile Economies in the Mediterranean Area) research programme which is based on collaboration between the CTR, international research centres such as the CNRS, and the National Museum of Denmark.
Main supervisor: Professor Marie-Louise Nosch, CTR

Supervisors: Keeper Bodil Bundgaard Rasmussen, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Antiquities, National Museum of Denmark.
Associate professor Lone Wriedt Sørensen, Saxo institute, University of Copenhagen.