A New Gauge: More on Formative Period Textiles and Technologies

Author(s): Billie Follensbee

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Textile Tools and Technologies as Evidence for the Fiber Arts in Precolumbian Societies" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

While considerable research has been conducted on the importance of textiles in Classic and Postclassic Mesoamerica, little study has been done on textiles among Early or Middle Formative period cultures, mainly due to scanty preservation. As noted in previous research, however, depictions of textiles are evident in sculpture, and evidence of textile-making can be found through re-examination of small stone Formative period artifacts. Close analysis and replication studies have revealed that objects previously identified as "bloodletters" most likely served as functional weaving picks and awls; perforated iron ore cubes were likely net weights; certain types of figural celts and clamshell pectorals may have served as net gauges; and the objects known as tailed "spoons" were likely small weaving battens. Further research has revealed that other small stone objects previously deemed as purely ornamental also may have been used as net gauges or battens, and this research is supported by objects found in an exciting new cache of jades recovered at the Middle Formative period Maya site of Paso del Macho, Yucatan. All together, these data reveal much about the making and use of ancient textiles and highlight the considerable importance that textiles held for these Formative Period cultures.

Cite this Record

A New Gauge: More on Formative Period Textiles and Technologies. Billie Follensbee. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451876)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.987; min lat: 17.77 ; max long: -86.858; max lat: 25.839 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23145