London, Sep 23 (IANS) Despite the use of similar textile technologies during the Iron Age, Italy shared the textile culture of Central Europe while Greece largely followed the near eastern traditions of textile production, a detailed analysis of textile fragments has revealed.
Textiles have been and still are widely considered one of the most valuable indicators of individual and group identity.
The study greatly expands our current understanding of the regional circulation of textile technological knowledge and the role of textiles, which represents one of the earliest human craft technologies and applied arts in ancient societies, the researchers said.
“There is overwhelming evidence for frequent contact between Italy and Greece during the first half of the first millennium BC, but this evidence shows that their textile traditions were technically, aesthetically and conceptually very different,” said Margarita Gleba, researcher at the University of Cambridge.
“This means that the populations in these two regions are making an active decision to clothe themselves in a certain way and it may have to do with traditions set up already in the Bronze Age,” Gleba added.
Archaeological textiles are relatively rare finds in Mediterranean Europe, but many fragments survive in a mineralised form.
For the study, appearing in the journal Antiquity, the team conducted detailed analysis of several hundred textile fragments to define the textile cultures in Italy and Greece during the first half of the first millennium BC.
“Curiously, by Roman times, the establishment of Greek colonies in southern Italy and more general oriental influences observed in material culture of Italic populations leads towards gradual disappearance of the indigenous textile tradition,” Gleba noted.
“Our future research will attempt to understand the cause behind this change in textile culture,” she added.