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Pre-historic textile finds reveal a lot about textile heritage

A clearer picture has emerged of the textile culture in Italy and Greece during the first half of the first millennium BC. There is overwhelming evidence of frequent contact between Italy and Greece during the first half of the first millennium BC, but this evidence shows their textile traditions were technically, aesthetically and conceptually different.

Textiles are relatively rare finds, especially in Mediterranean Europe, due to conditions which are unfavorable for organic material preservation. Many archaeological textile fragments do, however, survive in mineralised form. During the Iron Age people were buried with a lot of metal goods such as personal ornaments, weapons and vessels. These metals are conducive to the preservation of textiles as the metal effectively kills off the micro-organisms which would otherwise consume the organic materials, while at the same time metal salts create casts of textile fibers, thereby preserving the textile microstructure.

This is how a large number of textiles are found, even though they only exist in tiny fragments. Through meticulous analysis using digital and scanning electron microscopy, high performance liquid chromatography and other advanced methods it is possible to determine a lot of information including the nature of the raw materials and structural features such as thread diameter, twist direction, type of weaving or binding, and thread count.