The Venus of Willendorf, apparently wearing a macrame hat.
Woven clothing dates back 27,000 years
Evidence that hunter-gatherers wore woven clothing, and used baskets, nets and other loom-made textiles some 27,000 years ago has been found in central and western Europe.
The evidence, found by Olga Soffer of the University of Illinois, consists of textile impressions on about 90 fragments of clay from a number of well-dated sites in the Czech Republic, including Dolni Vestonice and Tavlov. The impressions represent by far the world’s oldest evidence of weaving yet found. Previously, it was thought weaving was invented by the first settled farmers only 10,000-5,000 years ago.
Detailed examination of the impressions has revealed a huge variety of fine weaving techniques, including open and closed twines and plain weave, basketry and nets. According to Dr Soffer, twining can be done by hand but plain weave requires a loom.
Some of the impressions may have been created accidentally – for example, by sitting on a freshly-laid clay floor, or leaning against a wet wattle-and-daub wall. Wet clay may also have been carried in bags. `Other impressions may have been caused by deliberate action, such as lining a basket with clay to make it airtight,’ Dr Soffer said.
Following the clay-impression discoveries, a number of contemporary `Venus’ figurines were examined from sites across central and western Europe. Many were found to be wearing clothing including basket hats and caps, bandeaus – straps of cloth wrapped around the body above the breast – and belts worn at the waist or low-slung on the hips, some with string skirts attached. `These figurines have been studied for decades but no-one has paid any attention before to the clothing,’ Dr Soffer said.
Venus of Lespugue, in a skirt, about 25,000 years old.
The back and front views of Venus of Kostenki in Russia
Apparently, cavemen didn’t wear fur… The people who created the Venuses were probably wearing cloth, not hides!
Stone age lingerie?