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At the Crossroads of Textile Cultures: Textile Production and Use at the South Italian Archaic Site of Ripacandida

Issue: Vol 31 No. 1 (2018)

Journal: Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology

Subject Areas: Ancient History Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jma.36808


Textiles are seldom included within socioeconomic interpretative frameworks of the ancient northern Mediterranean region, although several recent studies have begun to address this lacuna. The Archaic/ Classical site of Ripacandida (Basilicata), located in the southern Apennines, has yielded both textiles and textile tools, providing an unprecedented opportunity to examine textile production and use at an indigenous south Italian site. This study presents the results of the complementary analyses of mineralised textile remains and textile tools (spindle whorls and loom weights) found in the cemetery of Ripacandida. The unusual combination of the Greek textile weave (weft-faced tabby) and a characteristic Italic tablet-woven border in two fragments attests to a mixed textile culture. The (to date) unique situation at Ripacandida enables us to reflect on the role of textiles in cultural contact contexts: the way in which textile cultures and their elements met and were mixed or kept separate in south Italy and beyond; the extent to which textile production was socially and economically embedded in a small indigenous community of south Italy; and the role of textiles and textile production as an expression of indigenous-Greek interaction.

Open access: Attribution—Non Commercial—NoDerivs / CC BY-NC-ND

Author: Margarita Gleba, Christian Heitz, Hedvig Landenius Enegren, Francesco Meo

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