Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Tracing textile cultures of Italy and Greece in the early first millennium BC

  • Margarita Gleba (a1)

Archaeological textiles are relatively rare finds in Mediterranean Europe, but many fragments survive in a mineralised form. Recent analysis of Iron Age textiles from Italy and Greece indicates that, despite the use of similar textile technologies at this time, Italy shared the textile culture of Central Europe, while Greece largely followed the Near Eastern traditions of textile production. This research greatly expands our current understanding of the regional circulation of textile technological knowledge and the role of textiles in ancient societies.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Tracing textile cultures of Italy and Greece in the early first millennium BC
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Tracing textile cultures of Italy and Greece in the early first millennium BC
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Tracing textile cultures of Italy and Greece in the early first millennium BC
      Available formats
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Hide All
Bender JørgensenL. 1992. North European textiles until AD 1000. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.
BonfanteL. 2003. Etruscan dress. Baltimore (MD): Johns Hopkins University Press.
ChenH.L., Jakes K.A. & Foreman D.W.. 1998. Preservation of archaeological textiles through fibre mineralization. Journal of Archaeological Science 25: 1015–21.
CockingJ. 1996. Textile remains, in Carington-Smith J., Cavanagh W.G., Cocking J.M., Evely R.D.G., Higgins R.A., Howell R.J., Liddy D.J., Moignard E., Musgrave J.H., Platon N., Snodgrass A.M., Smyth D., Wall-Crowther S. & Webb V.E.S., Knossos north cemetery early Greek tombs. Volume II. Discussion: 613–20. London: British School at Athens.
CollingwoodP. 1996. The techniques of tablet weaving. McMinnville (OR): Robin and Russ Handweavers.
CutlerJ. & Gleba M.. 2014. Appendix: a preliminary study of the textile fragment on GR 1919, 11–19.8. Appendix to C. Morgan, ‘A fifth-century BC grave group from Karabournaki in the British Museum’, in Valavanis P. & Manakidou E. (ed.) Εγραφσεν Και Εποιεσεν. Essays on Greek pottery and iconography in honour of Professor Michalis Tiverios: 253. Thessaloniki: Studio.
De SantisA., Colacicchi O., Giuliani M.R. & Santoro B.. 2010. Il processo storico nel Lazio antico tra la tarda età del bronzo e la prima età del ferro: i protagonisti, in Negroni Catacchio N. (ed.) Atti XI. Preistoria e Protostoria in Etruria. L'alba dell'Etruria. Fenomeni di continuità e trasformazione nei secoli XII–VIII a.C. Ricerche e scavi: 311–26. Milano: Centro Studi di Preistoria e Archeologia.
EllisR. 1981. Appendix 5, in Young R.S., Gordion excavation reports, volume I: three great early tumuli (P, MM, W). Philadelphia (PA): University Museum.
GlebaM. 2008. Textile production in pre-Roman Italy (Ancient Textile Series 4). Oxford: Oxbow.
GlebaM. 2014a. Wrapped up for safe keeping: ‘wrapping’ customs in Early Iron Age Europe, in Harris S. & Douny L. (ed.) Wrapping and unwrapping material culture: archaeological and anthropological perspectives: 135–46. Walnut Creek (CA): Left Coast.
GlebaM. 2014b. Cloth worth a king's ransom: textile circulation and transmission of textile craft in the ancient Mediterranean, in Rebay-Salisbury K., Foxhall L. & Brysbaert A. (ed.) Material crossovers: knowledge networks and the movement of technological knowledge between craft traditions: 83103. New York: Taylor & Francis.
GlebaM. & Harris S.. In press. Plant fibre technology: identifying splicing in archaeological textiles. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.
GlebaM. & Laurito R.. 2015. Appendice 1. Analisi delle tracce di tessuti rinvenuti a Grotte di Castro in località Vigna la Piazza, in E. Pellegrini, Un aspetto delle necropoli etrusche di Grotte di Castro: le tombe a fossa con circolo di Vigna La Piazza: 265–67; and appendix in Annali Faina XX: 337–39, 346.
GlebaM. & Vanden Berghe I.. In press. Textiles from Cumae Fondo Artiaco 104: structural and dye analyses, in A. Babbi, Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums.
GlebaM., Heitz C., Landenius Enegren H. & Meo F.. In preparation. At the crossroads of textile cultures: textile production and use at the south Italian Archaic site of Ripacandida. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology.
Granger-TaylorH. 1983. The textile fragments from PG16, in J. Curtis, Late Assyrian Bronze coffins. Anatolian Studies 33: 9495.
GrömerK., Kern A., Reschreiter H. & Rösel-Mautendorfer H. (ed.). 2013. Textiles from Hallstatt. Weaving culture in Bronze and Iron Age salt mines. Textilien aus Hallstatt. Gewebte Kultur aus dem bronze- und eisenzeitlichen Salzbergwerk (Archaeolingua 29). Budapest: Archeolingua.
GuidaG., Giuliani M.R. & Ferrari S.. 2014. I metalli e i materiali tessili, in Carosi S. & Petitti P. (ed.) Principi immortali. Fasti dell'aristocrazia etrusca a Vulci: 5158. Roma: Gandemi.
HarrisS. 2012. From the parochial to the universal: comparing cloth cultures in the Bronze Age. European Journal of Archaeology 15: 6197.
HellmuthA. 2010. Zur Rekonstruktion des Prunkgewandes aus Stična Grab 27, Grabhügel48/K rekonstrukciji razkošnega oblačila iz stiškega groba 27 v gomili 48, in Gabrovec S. & Teržan B. (ed.) Stična II/2 Gomile starejše železne dobe/Grabhügel aus der Älteren Eisenzeit (Katalogi in Monografije 38): 6168. Ljubljana: Narodni Muzej.
JamesM.A., Reifarth N., Mukherjee A.J., Crump M.P., Gates P.J., Sandor P., Robertson F., Pfälzner P. & Evershed R.P.. 2009. High prestige royal purple dyed textiles from the Bronze Age royal tomb at Qatna, Syria. Antiquity 83: 1109–18.
KillenJ.T. 2007. Cloth production in Late Bronze Age Greece: the documentary evidence, in Gillis C. & Nosch M.-L. (ed.) Ancient textiles: production, craft and society. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ancient Textiles, held at Lund, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 19–23, 2003 (Ancient Textiles Series 1): 5058. Oxford: Oxbow.
KolonasL., Sarri K., Skals I., Margariti C. & Nosch M.-L.. In press. Protogeometric funerary textiles from Stamna, Aitolia, Greece, in Hesperos. The Aegean seen from the West. 16th International Aegean Conference. University of Ioannina, 16–21 May 2016.
LoveN. 2011. The analysis and conservation of the Hasanlu-period IVB textiles, in de Schauensee M. (ed.) People and crafts in period IVB at Hasanlu, Iran: 4356. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum.
MargaritiC. & Papadimitriou A.. 2014. Material identification and technological analysis of a 7th-century BC excavated textile from Argos, Greece. Archaeological Textiles Review 56: 1423.
McCorristonJ. 1997. The fibre revolution: textile extensification, alientation, and social stratification in ancient Mesopotamia. Current Anthropology 38: 517–49.
NijboerA.J. 2011. Italy, its interconnections and cultural shifts during the Iron Age, in Di Giuseppe H. & Dalla Riva M. (ed.) Atti XVII Congresso Internazionale di Archeologia Classica; Incontri tra Culture nel Mondo Mediterraneo Antico: 122. Rome: AIAC.
Ræder KnudsenL. 1999. Technical description of the fragments of the broad tablet woven band found on the big cauldron from Eberdingen-Hochdorf, in Banck-Burgess J., Hochdorf IV: 8082. Stuttgart: Theiss.
Ræder KnudsenL. 2012. The tablet-woven borders of Verucchio, in Gleba M. & Mannering U. (ed.) Textiles and textile production in Europe from prehistory to AD 400: 254–65. Oxford & Oakville (CT): Oxbow.
Rast-EicherA. & Vanden Berghe I.. 2015. Altrier—a new look on the textiles, in Grömer K. & Pritchard F. (ed.) Aspects of the design, production and use of textiles and clothing from the Bronze Age to the early modern era. NESAT XII: 117–24. Budapest: Archaeolingua.
ReifarthN. & Drewello R.. 2011. Textile Spuren in der Königsgruft. Vorbericht zu ersten Ergebnissen und dem Potenzial zukünftiger Forschungen, in Pfälzner P. (ed.) Interdisziplinäre Studien zur Königsgruft von Qatna (Qatna Studien 1): 469–82. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
RivaC. 2010. The urbanisation of Etruria: funerary practices and social change, 700–600 BC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
ShamirO. & Baginski A.. 1993. Textiles from the mining camps and Timna. Archaeological Textiles Newsletter 15: 6.
SpantidakiS. 2014. Embellishment techniques of Classical Greek textiles, in Harlow M. & Nosch M.-L. (ed.) Greek and Roman textiles and dress: an interdisciplinary anthology: 3445. Oxford: Oxbow.
SpantidakiY. & Moulhérat C.. 2012. Greece, in Gleba M. & Mannering U. (ed.) Textiles and textile production in Europe from prehistory to AD 400: 185200. Oxford & Oakville (CT): Oxbow.
StaufferA. 2012. Case study: the textiles from Verucchio, Italy, in Gleba M. & Mannering U. (ed.) Textiles and textile production in Europe from prehistory to AD 400: 242–53. Oxford & Oakville (CT): Oxbow.
Vanden BergheI. 2002. Appendice 1: analisi del colore, in von Eles P., Guerriero e sacerdote. Autorità e comunità nell'età del ferro a Verucchio. La Tomba del Trono: 220. Firenze: All'Insegna del Giglio.
Vanden BergheI. & Gleba M.. Forthcoming. Dyes and dyeing in Italy during the first millennium BCE. Journal of Archaeological Science.
Vogelsang-EastwoodG. 2000. Textiles, in Nicholson P.T. & Shaw I. (ed.) Ancient Egyptian materials and technology: 268–95. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 476
Total number of PDF views: 544 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 2401 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th September 2017 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.