Continuing on in the vein of ancient textiles.... I found this fabulous link to an article about ancient textiles and some of the archaeological evidence of them discovered in the past few years. Click here to link.
I don't know what it is about textile history that's been really grabbing my attention lately, but I have always found it fascinating. One of my favorite reads from the last couple of years is Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. If you haven't already read it, put it on your Christmas list! Here's a link to it via Amazon.
I guess it just astounds me when I think of the trillions and trillions of yards of thread and yarn that have been produced by women over the years -- industrialization only hit in the last 250 years or so, and for that matter, the spinning wheel has only been around for what? 500 years? I mean think of it, every square inch of cloth that every person wore before that was created by hand using some form of hand spindle, for heaven's sake, and a loom, or some form of netting or knitting or crochet. Think of the yards and yards and yards of cloth... all that work.... all that time! Almost all done by women, of course. The hugeness of it boggles my mind... like when a person sees the ocean for the first time and tries to fully grasp the size of it. Maps can't make you feel the size and power of the ocean ... only seeing it and being on it can do that. I think archaeology is like that for history. You can't fully grasp the amount of work and time and effort that women have put in for ages until you start seeing their tools, like those ancient Egyptian tools I posted about earlier, or the cloth found in tombs, as in the Siberian tomb discovery written about in the above article. It makes me start thinking in terms of what I do, making sweaters to sell, using only hand-operated knitting looms, as part of a thousands-year-long tradition.... except I didn't have to spin the dang yarn myself first! Honestly, I can't imagine.
Which is not to decry the efforts of men over the years, by the way. It's not like women were working their butts off while the men lazed around.... although, don't let them know we know that. It's much more fun making them feel guilty. :D