Brendan Burke

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology


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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology


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Spinning fibers and weaving garments predates by thousands of years nearly every other known craft or technology, including freestanding architecture, metallurgy, and ceramics. Unlike contemporary Egypt, scant traces of cloth from the Aegean Bronze Age survive, yet by using multidisciplinary approaches, including visual culture, textual sources, and tools of production, it is possible to understand cloth manufacture, distribution, and consumption. In this article, the tools of cloth production are contextualized within their economic, political, and social realms and thereby show that this was one of the most important economic activities of the Bronze Age Aegean. Within the Minoan and Mycenaean spheres, many craft activities, including the many phases of textile production, were controlled by elites in order to maintain and finance social, religious, and military institutions.

Keywords: spinning; fibers; Bronze Age; manufacture; distribution; consumption; cloth; production; textile

Article.  5407 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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