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THEFBO

The joint project will use wet soil textiles from south-west German lake dwelling settlements to demonstrate a completely new and diachronic perspective on Neolithic to metal-bearing settlement communities.

  • Runtime: 01.09.2018 - 31.03.2021
  • Supporter: BMBF
  • Partner: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg

BMBF joint project: The cultural and historical significance of the textile trade in the prehistoric wetland settlements on Lake Constance and Upper Swabia – in the context of demands on textile objects and their perception.

THEFBO is the acronym for a three-year joint project involving five partners. It stands for the project title: “The cultural-historical significance of the textile craft of the prehistoric wetland settlements on Lake Constance and Upper Swabia – in the context of demands on textile objects and their perception”. The project is funded by the BMBF.

Participants: Dr. Johanna Banck-Burgess, Prof. Dr. Doris Mischka, Dr. Barbara Theune-Großkopf, Prof. Dr. Guido Fackler

Abb. 1: Long, u-shaped strips of raffia are worked into the structure of these conical braids in a tile-like manner. They are often interpreted as hats, but this is questionable due to their small circumference. Place of discovery: Hornstaad, Kreis Konstanz; Reference point: Settlement, Hornstaad-Hörnle 1A; Dating: 3917 to 3909 BC © Y. Mühleis, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Konstanz

The joint project will use wet soil textiles from south-west German lake dwelling settlements to demonstrate a completely new and diachronic perspective on Neolithic to metal-bearing settlement communities. It is assumed that textiles played a central role in the everyday life of lakefront dwellers. It is assumed that vegetable textiles played a central role in the everyday activities of lake shore dwellers. In practical and social areas, they not only acted as companions, but also as pacemakers in a reciprocal relationship between social significance and perception.

However, this interdisciplinary collaborative project will not only highlight the potential of a previously neglected group of materials, but also highlight the key position of textiles in the cultural-historical context of early settlement communities in southern Germany, which will change the view of early arable crops nationally and internationally.

Report

Over the centuries organic material has been preserved in a anaerobic water-saturated environment. Once these finds have been removed from this environment they are in danger of becoming irreversibly destroyed if allowed to dry out.

The solution for preserving and restoring the material is freeze drying. The preparation of the material requires a stabilizing solution that is impregnated into the material before the water is directly withdrawn.

Abb. 2: Scanning electron micrograph of lime bast. Preservatives and sediment residues partially cover relevant identification features.
© Photo: I. Stelzner,CEZA

This procedure is common in restoration workshops and used for some time. It is, however, questionable as to whether material analysis of finds that have been conserved for many years can yield the same results.

Additionally the most sensitive material, such as textiles, show significant damage after several years of being in exhibitions or stored in archives. The dramatic state of some of the preserved finds, however, demonstrates an urgent need for action and for an optimization of conservation methods as some of the finds are slowly damaged beyond repair.

The CEZA is pursuing two goals that are aimed at rediscovering the method of extracting, processing and the use of woody bast as a universally applicable material for textiles both in technique and application. These are:

  • the preparation of a basis for material analysis as well as
  • successful coordination of experimental archaeological work with textile material testing.

The CEZA acts and mediates as the interface between theoretic study and scientific technology.

A collection of woody bast for future reference is being planned. The characteristics of samples are systematically examined by using various microscopic methods then documented and compared with results of older samples.

The cooperating partner will develop a procedure for testing the material based on questions that arise during the processing of the archaeological material.

In this way, the purpose and uses of woody bast from the agricultural Neolithic settlements in southern Germany, should be better understood.

https://www.thefbo.de/project-description/