This pioneering work revises our notions of the origins and early development of textiles in Europe and the Near East. Using innovative linguistic techniques, along with methods from palaeobiology and other fields, it shows that spinning and pattern weaving began far earlier than has been supposed.
Prehistoric Textiles made an unsurpassed leap in the social and cultural understanding of textiles in humankind’s early history. Cloth making was an industry that consumed more time and effort, and was more culturally significant to prehistoric cultures, than anyone assumed before the book’s publication. The textile industry is in fact older than pottery — and perhaps even older than agriculture and stockbreeding. It probably consumed far more hours of labor per year, in temperate climates, than did pottery and food production put together. And this work was done primarily by women. Up until the Industrial Revolution, and into this century in many peasant societies, women spent every available moment spinning, weaving, and sewing.