From Minos to Midas : ancient cloth production in the Aegean and in Anatolia


From Minos to Midas : ancient cloth production in the Aegean and in Anatolia

Brendan Burke

(Ancient textiles series, v. 7)

Oxbow Books, c2010

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [175]-195) and index



Textile production was of greater value and importance to people in the past than any other social craft activity: everyone depended on cloth. As with other craft goods, such as pottery, metal objects, or ivory carving, the large-scale production and exchange of textiles required specialization and some degree of centralization. This book takes an explicitly economic approach to textile production, focusing on regional centers, most often referred to as palaces, to understand the means by which states in the Aegean and Anatolia financed themselves through cloth industries. From this we can look for evidence of social stratification, inter-regional exchange, and organized bureaucracies. Spanning multiple millennia and various sources of evidence, Burke illustrates the complex nature of cloth production, exchange, and consumption and what this tells us about individual societies and prehistoric economies, as well as how developments in cloth industries reflect larger aspects of social organization.


1. Framing the discussion Methodology Spinning and weaving Minoan Crete Mycenean Greece Iron Age Gordion 2. Prehistoric Textile Production on Crete Cloth and cultural complexity Neolithic knossos Early Minoan Crete and the emergence of the palatrial system The first palaces on Crete Administration of cloth production Minoan textile tools Case studies 3. Cloth Production in the Mycenaean World Textiles in the Mycenaean economy Sheep The wool unit The Tarasija system and the organization of labor Mycenaean references to cloth Various phases of cloth production in the tablets from Knossos Mycenaean textile production at Pylos Thebes and Mucena Late Bronze Age art 4. Gordion and Phrygian cloth production Phrygians of Gordion Craft resodies Contexts of productions 5. Comparative Textile Production and Conclusions Egypt Near East New world evidence

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