Bronze Age Textile Evidence in Ceramic Impressions: Weaving and Pottery Technology among Mobile Pastoralists of Central Eurasia

By Doumani, Paula N.; Frachetti, Michael D. | Antiquity, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Bronze Age Textile Evidence in Ceramic Impressions: Weaving and Pottery Technology among Mobile Pastoralists of Central Eurasia


Doumani, Paula N., Frachetti, Michael D., Antiquity


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Introduction

In central Eurasia, the late third to early second millennium BC marks the beginning of intensified regional interaction and productive economies, specialising in pastoralism of sheep, goat and cattle (Kohl 2007; Frachetti 2008; Hanks & Linduff 2009). For decades, regional socio-economic integration among early pastoralists across the Eurasian steppe zone has been traced geographically and chronologically through the distribution of associated stylistic classes of pottery and metal objects (Chernykh 1992; Kuz'mina 2007), while other significant material classes, such as textiles, have remained more elusive. Textiles in Eurasia represent a major component of community organisation and socio-economic integration, ethnographically and archaeologically (Good 2006; Naheed & Beck in press). But poor preservation and archaeologically scattered evidence still leaves them as one of the least investigated material classes in Eurasian steppe prehistoric archaeology. The few extant studies available (Chernai 1985; Shishlina 1999) show stylistic and technological consistencies across central Eurasia, suggesting a high potential for exploring regional preference and socio-economic integration in this formative period of Eurasian prehistory.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Even though textiles are subject to poor preservation in Bronze Age central Eurasia, secondary evidence is widely recovered across the territory in the form of textile impressions in pottery that was produced using textile-lined moulds and other forming techniques (Figures 1 & 2). Here we present evidence for textiles from Begash, a newly excavated multi-period pastoral settlement in Semirech'ye in south-eastern Kazakhstan (Frachetti & Mar'yashev 2007), that offers the earliest evidence for cloth and pottery production in the eastern steppe region. The diverse array of textile prints in pottery from Begash has permitted the first in-depth study of textiles, weaving and pottery manufacture in Bronze Age south-eastern Eurasia.

Textiles from Begash

The recent excavations at the settlement Begash (Frachetti & Mar'yashev 2007) revealed textile-impressed, plain coarseware ceramics from the first phase of occupation (c. 2450 cal BC) and throughout subsequent occupation phases to the medieval period (c. fourteenth century AD) (Doumani 2009). Here we focus on the 18 samples found in the Early/Middle and Late Bronze Age phases of the site (phase 1, c. 2450-1700 cal BC; and phase 2, c. 16501000 cal BC). Casts were made of the negative textile impressions using white baking clay, rendering a positive mould of the textile impression, to accentuate the weave characteristics of the original cloth. In Figures 3-6, the casts appear convex because the sherd surface was concave (on the inside of the pot). The moulds were examined under hand magnification and photographed using a macro lens (x 10 magnification). Cloth structures were more visible in those samples where the cloth was pressed deeply into the wet clay. In some samples, the cloth structure was less visible due to shallow impressions, sherd wear or disturbance of the impression during the pot's 'wet' stage. However, in the remaining samples it was possible to detect different weaves, cloth densities, thread thicknesses, and possibly a number of raw materials used for making cloth. These are summarised in Table 1.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Description of the textiles implied

The Early/Middle Bronze Age samples from phase 1 at Begash (2450-1700 BC) include five doth/fibre-impressed sherds. Two possible weave types can be identified: interlaced weave and twining. Sample 1 might show a woven cloth impression (Figure 3a). The shallow impression prevents a close reading of the sample. However, some of the elements cross one another perpendicularly, which is typical of plain weave interlaced elements. Sample 2, by contrast, shows a weft/warp-faced cloth impression (Figure 3b).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bronze Age Textile Evidence in Ceramic Impressions: Weaving and Pottery Technology among Mobile Pastoralists of Central Eurasia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.