50,000 years ago an early human took a bird bone and sharpened one end and then carefully bored a hole in the other end. The discovery of this ancient tool changed the way we thought about early prehistoric humans. The popular image has been of “cave men” wearing uncured animal skins. Instead they were sewing clothes to protect them from the harsh conditions of the Ice Age.
In Early Medieval England some women were buried with textile tools such as weaving swords and drop spindles. What was the significance of including their tools? Was it because they needed them in the next life, or was it a symbol of their status in the community?
On Sept 24 Dr Giovanna Fregni will speak about the origins of sewing, textiles, and the significance of textile tools. She will also have replica drop spindles, bronze and pewter scarf pins available for sale.
Giovanna Fregni has a PhD in archaeology at the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire. While her speciality is ancient metals, she has a love of fibres and an interest in the origins of needlework and textiles. While living in Sheffield, she had opportunities to meet ancient breeds of sheep and study with people who worked with textiles. She became fascinated with the various designs of spindle whorls, and has replicated different designs in both metals and ceramics.