"A fascinating history of…[a craft] that preceded and made possible civilization itself." —New York Times Book Review New discoveries about the textile arts reveal women's unexpectedly influential role in ancient societies. Twenty thousand years ago, women were making and wearing the first clothing created from spun fibers. In fact, right up to the Industrial Revolution the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women. Despite the great toil required in making cloth and clothing, most books on ancient history and economics have no information on them. Much of this gap results from the extreme perishability of what women produced, but it seems clear that until now descriptions of prehistoric and early historic cultures have omitted virtually half the picture. Elizabeth Wayland Barber has drawn from data gathered by the most sophisticated new archaeological methods—methods she herself helped to fashion. In a "brilliantly original book" (Katha Pollitt, Washington Post Book World), she argues that women were a powerful economic force in the ancient world, with their own industry: fabric.
women s work the first 20 000 years women cloth and society in early times
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Drawing on the latest archaeological and technological research, this intriguing study of women's history explores the relationship between the development of the fiber arts and women's roles in society.
Economic history is well documented in Assyriology, thanks to the preservation of dozens of thousands of clay tablets recording administrative operations, contracts and acts dealing with family law. Despite these voluminous sources, the topic of work and the contribution of women have rarely been addressed. This book examines occupations involving women over the course of three millennia of Near Eastern history. It presents the various aspects of women as economic agents inside and outside of the family structure. Inside the family, women were the main actors in the production of goods necessary for everyday life. In some instances, their activities exceeded the simple needs of the household and were integrated within the production of large organizations or commercial channels. The contributions presented in this volume are representative enough to address issues in various domains: social, economic, religious, etc., from varied points of view: archaeological, historical, sociological, anthropological, and with a gender perspective. This book will be a useful tool for historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and graduate students interested in the economy of the ancient Near East and in women and gender studies.
Selected by Choice as a 2012 Outstanding Academic Title Awarded a 2012 PROSE Honorable Mention as a Single Volume Reference/Humanities & Social Sciences A Companion to Women in the Ancient World presents an interdisciplinary, methodologically-based collection of newly-commissioned essays from prominent scholars on the study of women in the ancient world. The first interdisciplinary, methodologically-based collection of readings to address the study of women in the ancient world Explores a broad range of topics relating to women in antiquity, including: Mother-Goddess Theory; Women in Homer, Pre-Roman Italy, the Near East; Women and the Family, the State, and Religion; Dress and Adornment; Female Patronage; Hellenistic Queens; Imperial Women; Women in Late Antiquity; Early Women Saints; and many more Thematically arranged to emphasize the importance of historical themes of continuity, development, and innovation Reconsiders much of the well-known evidence and preconceived notions relating to women in antiquity Includes contributions from many of the most prominent scholars associated with the study of women in antiquity
The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe provides a comprehensive overview of the gender rules encountered in Europe in the period between approximately 500 and 1500 C.E. The essays collected in this volume speak to interpretative challenges common to all fields of women's and gender history - that is, how best to uncover the experiences of ordinary people from archives formed mainly by and about elite males, and how to combine social histories of lived experiences with cultural histories of gendered discourses and identities. The collection focuses on Western Europe in the Middle Ages but offers some consideration of medieval Islam and Byzantium. The Handbook is structured into seven sections: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim thought; law in theory and practice; domestic life and material culture; labour, land, and economy; bodies and sexualities; gender and holiness; and the interplay of continuity and change throughout the medieval period. It contains material from some of the foremost scholars in this field, and it not only serves as the major reference text in medieval and gender studies, but also provides an agenda for future new research.
This one-of-a-kind encyclopedia shines a spotlight on more than 200 animals and their wondrous fleece. Profiling a worldwide array of fiber-producers that includes northern Africa’s dromedary camel, the Navajo churro, and the Tasmanian merino, Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson include photographs of each animal’s fleece at every stage of the handcrafting process, from raw to cleaned, spun, and woven. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook is an artist’s handbook, travel guide, and spinning enthusiast’s ultimate reference source all in one.
Why do we still have nits? What exactly are 'purity rules'? And why have baths scarcely changed in 200 years? The long history of personal hygiene and purity is a fascinating subject that reveals how closely we are linked to our deeper past. In this pioneering book, Virginia Smith covers the global history of human body-care from the Neolithic to the present, using first-hand accounts and sources. From pre-historic grooming rituals to New Age medicine, from ascetics to cosmetics, Smith looks at how different cultures have interpreted and striven for personal cleanliness and shows how, throughout history, this striving for purity has brought great social benefits as well as great tragedies. It is probably safe to say that no-one who reads this book will look at his or her body (or bathroom) in quite the same way again.
Designing Experimental Research in Archaeology is a guide for the design of archaeological experiments for both students and scholars. Experimental archaeology provides a unique opportunity to corroborate conclusions with multiple trials of repeatable experiments and can provide data otherwise unavailable to archaeologists without damaging sites, remains, or artifacts. Each chapter addresses a particular classification of material culture-ceramics, stone tools, perishable materials, composite hunting technology, butchering practices and bone tools, and experimental zooarchaeology-detailing issues that must be considered in the development of experimental archaeology projects and discussing potential pitfalls. The experiments follow coherent and consistent research designs and procedures and are placed in a theoretical context, and contributors outline methods that will serve as a guide in future experiments. This degree of standardization is uncommon in traditional archaeological research but is essential to experimental archaeology. The field has long been in need of a guide that focuses on methodology and design. This book fills that need not only for undergraduate and graduate students but for any archaeologist looking to begin an experimental research project.