The intersection of clay and fiber in central Eurasian prehistory: Methods for evaluation

Author(s): Paula Dupuy

Year: 2017


This presentation focuses on analytical techniques for evaluating cloth and fiber characteristics imprinted on ceramic vessels, and how reconstructing textile industries contribute a social reading of Eurasian prehistory. Inner Asian Bronze Age pastoralists of the 3rd - 1st millennium BC employed textiles to mold clay vessels as shown through woven fiber impressions coating the insides of containers. Although this production technique has preserved an otherwise marginally documented industry of early pastoralists, it has been methodologically challenging to accurately measure the morphological and structural features of cloth examples. The challenge not only stems from the lack of preserved textiles for comparative purposes but also from the rough surface texture of coarsewares that mask diagnostic features of fibers and weaves when viewed at close range. This paper outlines positive results from trials using high-resolution digital technology to examine textile features preserved in Bronze Age pottery from pastoral campsites of southeastern Kazakhstan. Findings suggest weaves and fiber processing were non-uniform across campsites and ecological micro-regions. Most significantly, the cross-use of textiles and clay in craft production demonstrate complex institutional ties and spheres of interaction among prehistoric pastoralists of central Eurasia that yield a new pattern for social exchange in this region.

Cite this Record

The intersection of clay and fiber in central Eurasian prehistory: Methods for evaluation. Paula Dupuy. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431179)


Clay Kazakhstan Textiles

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16613