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Use of wool in ancient Egypt?

 
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Mennefer
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:36 am    Post subject: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

How common was wool for textiles in ancient Egypt? I sometimes come across the claim that "wool was probably used for textiles more than we think", but what evidence do we have? As far as I know, there are hundreds of preserved garments from (pre-Roman) Egypt, but all are exclusively made from linen.

Are there any other textual evidence other that Herodotos' testimony that the Egyptians viewed wool as ritual impure?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:10 am    Post subject: Re: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

Mennefer wrote:
How common was wool for textiles in ancient Egypt? I sometimes come across the claim that "wool was probably used for textiles more than we think", but what evidence do we have? As far as I know, there are hundreds of preserved garments from (pre-Roman) Egypt, but all are exclusively made from linen.

Are there any other textual evidence other that Herodotos' testimony that the Egyptians viewed wool as ritual impure?


Are there any artifacts made from wool? I think it's a myth that they used wool in their textiles.
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NedGiles
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:11 am    Post subject: Re: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

NedGiles wrote:
Mennefer wrote:
How common was wool for textiles in ancient Egypt? I sometimes come across the claim that "wool was probably used for textiles more than we think", but what evidence do we have? As far as I know, there are hundreds of preserved garments from (pre-Roman) Egypt, but all are exclusively made from linen.

Are there any other textual evidence other that Herodotos' testimony that the Egyptians viewed wool as ritual impure?


Are there any artifacts made from wool? I think it's a myth that they used wool in their textiles.


Has anyone else found anything made from wool?
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lexikon der Ägyptologie - Band V. - Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1984. - Christine Strauß-Seber : Wolle. - Col. 1286 :



Translation with Google ...
Quote:
"... Wool is archaeologically only sporadically detected. It was local used for wigs (6), but most of all used for the production of garments, towels, blankets, etc. The oldest wool fabric comes from the late prehistory (7).

Only a few from historical time we have received currently ( 8 ). Only in the 2nd half of the 1st Millenium B.C. wool wins with the increasing foreign influence in importance, and is in Ptolemy and Christian Time very popular.

Ornate fabric of in part colored wool (* dyeing) were used for decoration of linen garments, but also for pillows, blankets, upholstery etc. (9). Sure woolens were also in everyday life carried. Herodotus mentions wool coats (10), and Diodorus emphasized the protective and warming properties of wool (11).

The rare mention of wool based perhaps on the * taboo, that it is forbidden to bring some wool to the temple or to be buried with it (12).
Products from wool exported as a commodity (13)."



M.L. Ryder :

Wool of the 14th Century B.C. from Tell el-Amarna, Egypt. - In: Nature (London / Washington) 240. - 1972. - pp. 355 - 356 :

"The author has examined samples of wool from the temple stores of el-'Amarna, offering a highly technical description of their characteristics. The wool appears to have been cut off with a knife, shears not yet having been invented."

The Wool of Ancient Egypt. - In: Bradford Textile Society - The Journal. - 1974. - pp. 28 - 30 :

"The author, having examined samples of wool from el-'Amarna, compares the data with those from Bronze Age wool from Denmark."

Greetings, Lutz.
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leiza
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

NedGiles wrote:
NedGiles wrote:
Mennefer wrote:
How common was wool for textiles in ancient Egypt? I sometimes come across the claim that "wool was probably used for textiles more than we think", but what evidence do we have? As far as I know, there are hundreds of preserved garments from (pre-Roman) Egypt, but all are exclusively made from linen.

Are there any other textual evidence other that Herodotos' testimony that the Egyptians viewed wool as ritual impure?


Are there any artifacts made from wool? I think it's a myth that they used wool in their textiles.


Has anyone else found anything made from wool?
#

I read somewhere too that it was a myth they were using wool. If only i could remember where! Idea
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

leiza wrote:
I read somewhere too that it was a myth they were using wool. If only i could remember where! Idea

The archaeological result is clear and unambiguous. Therefore is probably rather what you supposedly read somewhere "a myth" ... ?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul T. Nicholson / Ian Shaw : Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000. - ISBN : 0521452570. - XXI, 702 p. - Page 269 :



Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never thought of sheep as being part of Egyptian culture. I guess they needed something to make clothes out of. I thought it was some plant like papyrus they used, only because the writings and paintings were made out of papyrus. Hemp seems like a plant they could have been using, it has the same sort of shade, a tan color.
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Mennefer
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz wrote:
Paul T. Nicholson / Ian Shaw : Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000. - ISBN : 0521452570. - XXI, 702 p. - Page 269 :


Greetings, Lutz.


Interesting comment, especially about the mentioning of a woollen outer garment in the LP. Judging by the archeological record as a whole though, it would appear that wool was used to a very limited extent, at least compared to linen/flax. Could it be that linen garments, at least during most of the Pharaonic era, was seen as a marker of ethnicity which set Egyptians apart from foreigners?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mennefer wrote:
... Judging by the archeological record as a whole though, it would appear that wool was used to a very limited extent, at least compared to linen/flax. Could it be that linen garments, at least during most of the Pharaonic era, was seen as a marker of ethnicity which set Egyptians apart from foreigners?

I see for this no direct reference (without really extensive research). I would rather assume that there were two main reasons for the dominance of linen, starting already in Pre-and Early Dynastic.

Firstly, the climatic conditions. Even if there are extreme temperature differences day / night, the temperature seldom drops at night below 10-15 degrees, especially in Upper Egypt.

Secondly, the costs / effort relation for the production of the raw materials. Flax could be harvested 80-100 days after the sowing, dried and further processed. Sheeps, on the other hand, requires daily supervision?

As I said, without real evidence, just my opinion...

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New and in this topic of interest ...

Chiara Spinazzi-Lucchesi : The Unwound Yarn - Birth and Development of Textile Tools Between Levant and Egypt. - [Antichistica 18 - Studi orientali 8]. - Venezia : Università Ca’ Foscari, 2018. - ISBN : 978-88-6969-232-1. - 205 p. - [PDF - 8 MB] :

Quote:
Abstract

This book reviews certain of the most important archaeological finds of textile tools, in order to draw a picture of the spinning and weaving technologies adopted in the Levant and Egypt from the Neolithic to the Persian period. A brief description of the objects found at several sites is provided to highlight differences of materials and tool design in order to better understand developments in weaving technology across this region. Textile tools housed in the Museo Egizio di Torino are also examined here for the first time. These include spindles and spindle whorls, bone spatulae and needles, which for the most part originate from Schiaparelli’s excavations at the Workers’ village of Deir el-Medina. A general analysis is provided, which compares these objects to the tools known from other sites in Egypt, as well as a catalogue, which provides further description and exact measurements for each object of the collection.

Greetings, Lutz.
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neseret
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Use of wool in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

NedGiles wrote:
Mennefer wrote:
How common was wool for textiles in ancient Egypt? I sometimes come across the claim that "wool was probably used for textiles more than we think", but what evidence do we have? As far as I know, there are hundreds of preserved garments from (pre-Roman) Egypt, but all are exclusively made from linen.

Are there any other textual evidence other that Herodotos' testimony that the Egyptians viewed wool as ritual impure?


Are there any artifacts made from wool? I think it's a myth that they used wool in their textiles.


There are examples, either in the British Museum archives or at the Petrie Museum, both in London, of woollen sleeves, which are simply to be added to the arms (not connected with the body garment), which are thought to serve as evidence of use of wool for warmth in cool temps.

Lutz mentioned that temps in Egypt can be extreme: I have been in Middle Egypt in January when temps were colder in Abydos than they were in England, and I recall having breakfast in the open air setting at my hotel when it was 2d C (roughly 34 d F). It can get equally cold in the North Delta region, although Cairo stays relatively mild, being a large tarmacked city.

So, it's understandable that wool might be used for clothing in general, but definitely used as an added garment for warmth, even in Egypt. Today's Egyptians will even start to wear wool once the temps dip below 15d C/ 60d F, while I am walking around in shirt sleeves.

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