Textiles from a Bronze Age settlement (2006)

One of the best collections of Bronze Age textiles in Britain was recovered from Must Farm palisaded settlement in Cambridgeshire in 2006. Some of the remains have survived intact while others appear to have been charred in the fire that demolished the settlement. This page presents a selection from this first stage of the excavation. It appears with the kind permission of the excavators, our clients, Cambridge Archaeological Unit. For textiles from later stages of the excavation, go to Must Farm CAU


Twined weave

Close-up of a textile worked in a basketry-like technique, but made of flexible plant fibres (probably tree bast). This is likely to have been part of a garment such as a cape, much like the one worn by Otzi the Ice Man. The photo shows a single horizontal row of twining, with some knots below, where extra bundles of fibre have been added in. Photo: ASLab/PWR.




Fine linen with beaded and knotted border


This charred textile was found in fragments. Pieced together, it appears to be a plain linen cloth with elaborate borders. The borders include bands of weft-faced tapestry weave worked with a dropped-thread technique; cleverly constructed corrugated bands; a row of small needle-worked knots; blue glass beads; and then a fringe made from bundles of warp yarn tied into large knots. Photos ASLab/PWR.





The linen yarn had been spliced, rather than spun with a continuous draw. Photo ASLab/PWR



A wooden bobbin wrapped with fine linen yarn, probably for needlework. Photo taken while object still wet, before conservation. ASLab/PWR