“Sicilian Textile Tools from the Bronze Age:
Examination of Finds and Comparative Studies on Their Functionality”
Research project financed by the National Science Centre, Poland (Preludium 11, project number 2016/21/N/HS3/02926)
Project duration: 02.2017-07.2019
Main investigator: Katarzyna Żebrowska, MA
Project supervisor: Prof. Pietro Maria Militello (University of Catania, Italy)
About the project
Textile tools, mainly ceramic loom weights and spindle whorls, are the unique evidence and source of information about the technology of textile production used in the Bronze Age Sicily (c. 2200-850 BC), especially important since textile finds, i.e. fragments of cloth, and comparative material, such as iconographical or written documents, are lacking from the island. Although textile tools are common finds within the archaeological material at any prehistoric site in Sicily, hitherto those tools have not been the subject of any complex study and many remain unpublished.
“Sicilian Textile Tools from the Bronze Age: Examination of Finds and Comparative Studies on Their Functionality” is a research project and the first complex study of prehistoric Sicilian textile tools designed to (1) build typological frames for those tools, (2) investigate their functional parameters in aim to reconstruct the characteristics of textile production, (3) evaluate its technological level through comparative studies, and (4) examine the development of textile craft over time, especially during the period of intensified contacts with Aegean populations.
The main research questions regard changes in local textile technology and the introduction of new materials (Can the typology of the Bronze Age Sicilian textile tools reflect such changes? Were they caused by contacts with Aegean populations? Are the Aegean influences in textile craft, if there were any, traceable within the repertoire of textile tools?), craft specialization and/or standardization (Can the typology of textile implements reflect those features? Can the spatial distribution of tools indicate the existence of craft specialization and/or labor division?), and organization of textile production (Can it point to centralization or prove that the manufacture was conducted exclusively within the framework of domestic production? Can traces of subsequent phases of manufacturing process be identified within the prehistoric Sicilian archaeological material?).
The research combines two methodological approaches: the methodology of archaeological research which focuses e.g. on investigating the context of finds, and the methodologies of textile archaeology which focus on the specific category of archaeological finds that are textile tools, as well as on the experimental approach applied to those artifacts, and discover their functional, technological, and social aspects.
The results of this research will contribute to our knowledge about the technology of textile production in the Mediterranean region during the Bronze Age and add new data especially important for the archaeology of prehistoric Sicily, archaeology of the Aegean, and the research on prehistoric technology of textile production.
“The Early Bronze Age textile tools from southern Sicily – diversity and change“ @ 2nd International Conference: Dynamics and Organisation of Textile Production in past Societies in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, 24-25.06.2019 (Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń); organized by: Małgorzata Grupa, Karina Grömer, Jerzy Maik, Agata Ulanowska.
“Between Sicily and the Aegean. A Comparison of Textile Making Technologies from the Interconnected Regions“ @ Sympozjum Egejskie. 7th Conference in Aegean Archaeology, 6-7.06.2019 (University of Warsaw, Poland); organized by the Department of Aegean Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw.
“Testing and comparing the Functionality of prehistoric Sicilian Spools in textile Production through experimental Weaving” (poster presentation) @ 11th Experimental Archaeology Conference (EAC 11), 2-4.05.2019 (Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy); organized by EXARC, University of Trento.
“Sicilian textile tools from the Bronze Age – a research project to investigate the prehistoric technology of textile production” @ Islands in Dialogue (ISLANDIA) International Postgraduate Conference in the Prehistory and Protohistory of Mediterranean Islands, 14-16.11.2018 (Università degli Studi di Torino); organized by: Luca Bombardieri, Giulia Muti, Alessandra Saggio, Giulia Albertazzi.
“Investigating the function of the Bronze Age Sicilian textile tools” @ Exploring Textiles and Textile Working from Prehistory to AD 500, 29.10.2018 (The University of Liverpool); organized by Sarah Hitchens, Gabriella Longhitano, Alistair Dickey, Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, The University of Liverpool.
“Investigating use-wear on prehistoric textile tools: the case of the Bronze Age Sicily” @ EAA 24th Annual Meeting (Barcelona, Spain), 5-8.09.2018; Session 438: Not only use: application of functional methods for a better comprehension of operative chains; organized by: Juan Luis Fernández Marchena, Lena Asryan, Antonella Pedergnana, Andreu Ollé.
“Narzędzia włókiennicze z Sycylii epoki brązu – wstępne wyniki badań z pierwszego roku realizacji projektu” @ Archeologia włókiennictwa w Polsce – nowe badania, nowi badacze, 27-28.03.2018 (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw); organized by: Agata Ulanowska, Magdalena Woźniak, Marta Żuchowska.
“The Middle Bronze Age Aeolian textile production in light of recent experiments” @ “Aménager, organiser et utiliser les espaces domestiques à l’âge du Bronze: approches expérimentales” Journée thématique annuelle of the APRAB – Association pour la promotion des recherches sur l’âge du Bronze, 2-3.03.2018 (Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France); organized by: Marilou Nordez, Kewin Peche-Quilichini, Mafalda Roscio.
“Wykorzystanie metod archeologii eksperymentalnej w badaniach nad sycylijskimi narzędziami tkackimi z epoki brązu” @ “Table Ronde – Wokół Archeologii Eksperymentalnej” during the 27th Conference of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, 5-8.12.2017; organized by: Agata Ulanowska.
“The use of experimental archaeology methods in testing the functionality of Bronze Age Sicilian textile tools” @ Vth International Congress of Experimental Archaeology, 25-27.10.2017 (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain); organized by The Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution, Rovira i Virgili University.
“Towards Tracing Signs of Labor Division and Craft Specialization in the Sicilian Bronze Age Textile Technology” @ EAA 23rd Annual Meeting, 29.08-3.09.2017 (MECC, Maastricht, Netherlands); Session #200: Craft: reconsidering social context, production and division in prehistoric and non-literate societies; session organizers: Sophia Adams, Krista Vajanto, Riina Rammo.
“Sicilian textile tools from the Bronze Age. Project presentation” @ International Conference: Dynamics and Organisation of Textile Production in Past Societies in Europe and the Mediterranean, 21-22.06.2017 (Department of Polish Academy of Sciences, Łódź, Poland); organized by: Agata Ulanowska, Małgorzata Grupa, Małgorzata Siennicka.
“Tracing Aegean Influence on Textile Tools and Textile Production of the Bronze Age Sicily” @ The 5th Young Researchers’ Conference in Aegean Archaeology, 1-2.06.2017 (Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, Poland); organized by the Department of Aegean Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw.
Żebrowska K. “The application of use-wear analysis to the study of function of prehistoric Sicilian textile tools” in: J.L. Fernández-Marchena, L. Asryan, A. Pedergnana, A. Ollé (eds.), Not only use. Application of functional methods for a better comprehension of operative chains, Quaternary International Special Issue (in press, published on-line).
“The organization of Middle Bronze Age Aeolian textile production in the light of recent experiments” in: M. Nordez, K. Peche-Quilichini, M. Roscio (eds.), Le Bulletin de l’Aprab (in press).
Żebrowska K. “Weaving in Early Bronze Age Sicily: Testing and Comparing the Functionality of Potential Weaving Tools” w: G. Albertazzi, G. Muti, A. Saggio (eds.), Islands in Dialogue (Islandia). Proceedings of the First Conference in the Prehistory and Protohistory of the Mediterranean Islands (Islands in Dialogue Series volume I) (in press).
Żebrowska K. “Between Sicily and the Aegean: craftsmen, craftswomen, and the processes of textile knowledge transmission” w: K. Żebrowska, A. Ulanowska, K. Lewartowski (eds.), Sympozjum Egejskie. Papers in Aegean Archaeology 3 (submitted).
Żebrowska K. 2019, “La filatura a Monte Cittadella (futura Morgantina) nella fase finale della preistoria siciliana”, AD REM 1-2, pp. 5-9.
Żebrowska K. 2018, “Aeolian Textile Tools from the Bronze Age – Testing the Functionality of Potential Heavy Spindle-Whorls” in: I. Cáceres, I. Expósito, M. Fontanals, M. Gema Chacón, J.M. Vergès (eds.), Experimental Archaeology: From Research to Society. Proceedings of the Vth International Congress of Experimental Archaeology, Tarragona, 25-27 October 2017, El Butlletí Arqueològic, V, 40, Tarragona, pp. 105-111.
Żebrowska K. 2018, “The Early and Middle Bronze Age Textile Tools from the Aeolian Islands (Italy)”, in: A. Ulanowska, M. Siennicka, M. Grupa (eds.), Dynamics and Organisation of Textile Production in Past Societies in Europe and the Mediterranean, Fasciculi Archaeologiae Historicae XXXI, Łódź, pp. 12-23.