Spinning through Time: Comparing Spindle Whorl Assemblages from the Southern Levant

Author(s): Blair Heidkamp

Year: 2018


Spindle whorls, a flywheel attached to a shaft used for the production of thread, are one of the only artifacts related to the textile industry which survives in the archaeological record. At the crossroads between Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, the southern Levant is at the intersection of cultural and technological change, particularly throughout the chronological scope of my study: the Pottery Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Early Bronze I periods. There has yet to be a comprehensive study of spindle whorl assemblages covering the entirety of the southern Levant over multiple chronological periods. As a part of my Masters thesis, I collected data from published sources to create a database of whorls. I noticed specific trends in the data, most notably, a shift with primarily ceramic whorls in PN assemblages to a majority of EBI whorls made of stone. Evaluating the observed trends in spindle whorls, along with identifying the materials and potential processes individuals were using to spin thread, I was able to draw conclusions about the prehistoric textile industry in the southern Levant.

Cite this Record

Spinning through Time: Comparing Spindle Whorl Assemblages from the Southern Levant. Blair Heidkamp. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443268)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: 34.277; min lat: 13.069 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 42.94 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21917