Textile Tools and Technologies as Evidence for the Fiber Arts in Precolumbian Societies

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM (2019)

This collection contains the abstracts of the papers presented in the session entitled "Textile Tools and Technologies as Evidence for the Fiber Arts in Precolumbian Societies," at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

While the importance of textiles and the techniques of precolumbian textile production have been well-documented in regions such as the Andes, far less research has been conducted in other parts of the Americas, including North America, Mesoamerica, the Intermediate Region, and the Caribbean. With only a few exceptions—such as the U.S. Southwest—the climates of these regions are generally not conducive to preservation, meaning that textiles themselves are only rarely preserved. Additional sources of relatively untapped evidence on textile production exist, however, in other archaeologically recovered material culture such as implements used for creating textiles (including, but not limited to, spindle whorls, net gauges, needles, and weaving awls); objects associated with textiles (e.g., fishing net weights and floats); and even raw materials (e.g., cultivated or collected fibers and pigments). Analysis of these artifacts carries great potential for insights regarding the techniques and technologies used for producing textiles across both time and space, and into the lives of those who made and used the finished products. Of additional interest to the session are studies documenting the distribution of artifacts employed for these purposes and what this tells us about the practical and symbolic uses of textiles in these societies.