Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

By Giles Clarke; J. L. MacDonald et al. | Go to book overview

15 TEXTILE REMAINS

by ELISABETH CROWFOOT


i. DISCUSSION

VERY few pieces of textile have been preserved on grave-goods from the Lankhills cemetery, and all were too far replaced for fibre identification to be successful. There are, however, among them some interesting fragments from woven goods showing techniques present on other provincial Roman sites.1

FIG. 40. Textile fragments corroded to knife 69 (Grave 81): diagrams of the weave of fragments a and b.

A coarse scrap of four-shed twill from 69 (Grave 81) is woven with thick paired threads in one system and a fine well-plyed thread in the other (Fig. 40b). Though replaced, it is clear from its appearance that it was a good quality wool, in which the combination of such different yarns in warp and weft gives a pattern of strong diagonal lines; it may have been a cloak or blanket. Pieces of woollen twill from a well at Huntcliff (N.R. Yorks.) of c. A.D. 370 also have paired threads in one system, which Wild now considers probably the weft, though in this case the other thread is unplyed.2 Paired threads are used for the weft systems of many tabby weaves from Roman sites, but do not seem to reappear so far in domestic Anglo-Saxon textiles until the ninth century.3 Earlier examples of twill with paired threads in one system and plyed threads in the other were found in the Hallstatt ( Austria) salt mines.4

The surface of a fragment of tabby weave on the back of buckle 603 (Grave 443) seems to have been napped, the soft raised fibres obscuring the threads. This treatment of woollen materials was well known in Roman weaving, and Wild has produced evidence that the tunica pexa, a tunic with a napped surface, must have been a recognised local product in Roman Britain.5 Fragments of replaced woollens with a napped surface from graves at Stretton-on-Fosse (War.) show the continuation of Roman textile techniques in an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery notable for other interesting Roman survivals.6 As the buckle on which the fragment is preserved at Lankhills lay at the feet, the napped woollen fabric may in this case have come from a cloak rather than a tunic.

Four good-quality tabby weaves are almost certainly of flax. In those from men's graves, from a brooch (447) worn at the shoulder in Grave 322, and from underneath the plate of buckle 27 (Grave 23), the linen probably comes from tunics; in the others, from bracelets in women's graves, 438 (Grave 323) and 568 (Grave 438), the material probably came either from head-veils or linen gowns.

____________________
1
I gratefully acknowledge the kindness of Dr. D. F. Cutler, Jodrell Laboratory, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Dr. M. L. Ryder, Animal Breeding Research Organisation, Roslin, Midlothian, in examining fibre specimens.
2
Wild 1970, 97 and personal communication. Table A, 5-7, 9, 27, 30; Table B, 23, 34.
3
Ibid.
4
Hundt 1959, 75-6, No. 12, Abb. 5.
5
Wild 1967b.
6
E. Crowfoot in forthcoming report.

-329-

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Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xvii
  • List of Tables xxi
  • List of Abbreviations xxiii
  • Introduction li
  • Part I - The Excavation 1
  • 1 - Circumstances of Excavation 1
  • 2 - Archaeological Background 4
  • 3 - General Character of the Excavation 12
  • 4 - The Graves *
  • 5 - Other Features 96
  • Part II - Analysis 111
  • 1 - Introduction 111
  • 2 - Chronology 113
  • 3 - Age and Sex 123
  • 4 - Cremations 128
  • 5 - Inhumations: The Grave 131
  • 6 - Inhumations: The Grave-Furniture 145
  • 7 - Cemetery Organisation 183
  • Part III - The Finds 201
  • 1: Introduction 201
  • 2 - Coins 202
  • 3 - Pewter Vessels 206
  • 4 - Glass Vessels 209
  • 5 - Pottery Vessels 221
  • 6 - Animal Remains 239
  • 7 - Equipment 246
  • 8 - Cross-Bow Brooches 257
  • 9 - Belts and Belt-Fittings 264
  • 10 - Beads and Necklaces 292
  • 11 - Bracelets 301
  • 12 - Other Personal Ornaments 315
  • 13 - Hobnails and Footwear 322
  • 14 - Miscellaneous Objects 326
  • 15 - Textile Remains 329
  • 16 - Coffin-Nails, Coffin-Fittings, and Coffins 332
  • 17 - Human Skeletons: Preliminary Reports 342
  • 18 - Economic Conclusions 345
  • Part IV - Discussion 347
  • 1 - Late Romano-British Burial Practice 347
  • 2 - Foreign Elements 377
  • 3 - Religion 404
  • Concordances 434
  • Addenda 451
  • Index of Sites 517
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