In Honor of Earth Day

(Image by earth.imagico.de)

(Image by earth.imagico.de)

So, you may ask, what is a post about Earth Day doing in a historical sewing blog? Well, I was thinking about the Earth and it occurred to me that we who are enthused about history and historical fabrics owe a great deal of thanks to the Earth for saving those intriguing bits and bobs of ancient life that pop up every so often. Without the preservation Earth has provided, we would be even more clueless about ancient fabrics than we already are.

So here is my modest tribute to the Earth – with thanks for all it does for us, in spite of what we do to it.

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A fine wool textile dyed red and blue, found at the ancient copper mines of Timna Valley, Israel. Approximately 3000 yrs old. Image credit – Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

A fine wool textile dyed red and blue, found at the ancient copper mines of Timna Valley, Israel. Approximately 3000 yrs old. Image credit - Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

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A small 3rd century AD fragment of fabric known as the Falkirk Tartan Textile Fragment (although there is some discussion as to whether it is correct to call it “tartan”).

a small 3rd century AD fragment of fabric known as the Falkirk Tartan Textile Fragment

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Coptic Egypt, c. 5th-7th century AD textile fragment decorated with blue flowers, outlined in black.

Coptic Egypt, c. 5th-7th century AD. Nice textile fragment decorated with blue flowers, outlined in black. 36 mm (1 3_8 inch) dia.

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Dyed fabric found at Masada – breached by the Romans in 73 CE (Common Era)

Dyed fabric found at Masada - breached by the Romans in 73 CE (Common Era)

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Four twisted hanks of flax fiber, probably late Middle Kingdom (Egypt) – about 1850-1750 BC.

four twisted hanks of flax fibre, 13-15 cm long, probably late Middle Kingdom (Egypt), about 1850-1750 BC

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Iron Age woven cloth from the Hallstatt salt mines. (Hallstatt Culture 850-350 BC).

Iron Age woven cloth from the Hallstatt salt mines. (Hallstatt Culture 850-350 BC)

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Fabric woven from nettles. This piece of fabric is 2,800 years old, found in the Lusehøj barrow, Denmark. (Photo – The National museum of Denmark)

nettle fabric found in a 2,800-year-old grave in Denmark

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Ptolemaic Egypt, c. 332 – 30 BC. One nice piece of linen mummy-wrapping.

Ptolemaic Egypt, c. 332 - 30 BC. One nice piece of linen mummy-wrapping. Measures 25 mm (1 inch).

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Remnants of wool garments from the Lønne Hede (Denmark) find. Early Roman Iron Age (1-150 CE).

Remnants of wool garments from the Lønne Hede (Denmark) find. Early Roman Iron Age (1-150 CE)

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Hami burial plaid – from the Tarim Basin of the Taklamakan Desert in North-West China.

Hami burial plaid - from the Tarim Basin of the Taklamakan Desert in North-West China

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Woman’s clothing from Iron Age (1200 BC) Huldre Fen, at Ramten in Djursland, Jutland (in Denmark).

Woman's clothing from Iron Age (1200 BC) Huldre Fen, at Ramten in Djursland, Jutland (in Denmark)

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Detail of skirt worn by the body known as “the woman from Huldremose” (Denmark, Early Iron Age Bog burial).

Detail of skirt from the woman from Huldremose (Denmark, Early Iron Age Bog burial)

Archaeologist Ulla Mannering studying the skirt in the laboratory. (Photo - Colourbox)

Archaeologist Ulla Mannering studying the skirt in the laboratory. (Photo – Colourbox)

 

The Huldre bog woman's scarf.

The Huldre bog woman’s scarf.

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6 thoughts on “In Honor of Earth Day

  1. I’m really loving the theme/design of your site. Do
    you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?

    A few of my blog audience have complained about my
    blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
    Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

    • I’ve never gotten a complaint or comment about compatibility issues. I use Firefox, but have also accessed the blog via Explorer without a problem. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know where to look for a fix – sorry. 😦

  2. This post is so interesting, as usual. I didn’t know textiles had been made from nettles, presumably the inner fibres of the stems. It’s striking how much ingenuity and care there is in these early examples of textiles.

    • In the brief bit of research I did, it seems that the general impression that’s been around is that ancient peoples made cloth from resources which were purposefully cultivated, be they plant or animal. But evidence has come to light suggestion that naturally-occurring (i.e., found in the wild) materials were also used, such as wild nettles. And that was news to me, too. 🙂

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