F.ARK Archaeological Topic A - Textile Archaeology - A hands on course

Course content

Textiles are an integral part of our everyday and have been so since prehistory. Textile is used for sails, tents, clothing and in households in a variety of contexts such as rituals and trade, and throughout prehistory textiles were considered worth their weight in gold. Over time, production, organization and distribution of textiles changed and transformed as a result of new technologies. The knowledge and development of these technologies is seen in the finished product and is testament to the transference of knowledge in families or areas but also show new influences from the outside world. The manufacture of textile includes a long and sometimes complex and physical demanding chaîne opératoire: Harvesting and preparation of fibres, setting up heavy looms, spinning and weaving as well as the finishing processes such as sowing the textiles together and e.g. treating sailcloth with sheep’s fat. The manufacturing of textiles was a result of complex interactions between resources and technology within society, and depended on resources, state of technology, and needs.


The course will take you through the history of textile in Europe and the Near East covering both tangible and intangible aspects. Geographically you will be introduced to European textiles as well as textiles from the Near East in the prehistory, however, other time periods and geographic areas can be included, too.


After an introduction to archaeological textiles and textile production, you will experiment with basic textile technologies such as fibre identification, weaving, and dye analysis. We will look at preservation and conservation both for textiles and for skins and leather. You will also work with new scientific methods as well as the theoretical approaches to understanding textile production in the context of wider societal questions.


During the course, you will have lectures by visiting experts; participate in practical exercises as well as experimentation, and visit the National Museum, Brede and other relevant sites.   

Learning outcome

You will gain an understanding of the importance of production processes as well as methods of analysis of textile and textile production in prehistory. This includes an understanding of the role of textiles and textile production in society. You will be able to address and discuss textile and textile production based on analysis of archaeological textiles, textile tools and contexts. You will also be able to integrate results from the research into a more general archaeological discussion and interpretation. You will of course gain insight in pertinent theoretical and methodological approaches in textile research.

During the course, you will have lectures by visiting experts; participate in practical exercises as well as experimentation and seminars, and visit the National Museum, Brede and other relevant sites.

Andersson, E. 2003, Tools for Textile Production – from Birka and Hedeby. Stockholm, Birka Studies 8.


Andersson Strand, E. and Nosch, M-L. (eds), 2015, Tools, Textiles and Contexts. Investigating Textile Production in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age. Ancient Textiles Series , Oxbow Books, Oxford. Peer reviewed.


Andersson Strand, E. B., Gebauer Thomsen, L., Cutler, J. 2011, From tools to textiles, a manual for recording, analysing and interpreting textile tools.


Barber, E. J. W. (1991), Prehistoric Textiles. The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton: Princeton University Press.


Bender Jørgensen, L. 1986. Forhistoriske Textiler i Skandinavien. Copenhagen: Det kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftsselskab (Nordiske Fortidsminder Ser B 9).


Bender Jørgensen, L. (1992), North European Textiles until AD 1000. Aarhus. Aarhus University Press.


Gleba, M and Mannering, U. (eds), 2012, Textiles and Textile Production in Europe from Prehistory to AD 400, Ancient Textiles Series 11, Oxford.


Nosch Marie-Louise and Gillis Carole (eds), First Aid for the Excavation of Archaeological Textiles, Ancient Textiles Series 2, Oxford.


Hald, M., 1980. Ancient Danish textiles from bogs and burials, a comparative study of costumes and Iron Age textiles. Copenhagen.


Further bibliography will be provided on the first day of the course and via Absalon

This course is suitable for students in both prehistoric and classical archaeology and international students.
For more information please contact Eva Andersson Strand

Continuous feedback during the course
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 0
  • English
  • 0


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Bachelor choice
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester


Dette er et dagkursus via tompladsordningen mod betaling på Åbent Universitet. Tilmeld dig og se aktuel prisoversigt på www.aabentuniversitet.hum.ku.dk 

See the Schedule link
Study Board of Archaeology, Ethnology, Greek & Latin, History
Contracting department
  • SAXO-Institute - Archaeology, Ethnology, Greek & Latin, History
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Eva Birgitta Andersson Strand   (12-687964647167687576767271436b7870316e7831676e)
Saved on the 11-10-2022

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