Reconstructing the Ancient Greek Warp Weighted Loom
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Penelope, Arachne, and Athena: all are prominent female figures in Greek mythology who are known for their magnificent weaving skills. Indeed, the Greeks took pride from the skills that their daughters and wives exhibited on the loom because of the economic and social importance of weaving. Modern scholars can study textile production by focusing on the translation and possible implications of literary references, recorded archaeological finds, or representations of the weaving process on pottery. This work reports on experiments conducted using a model of the Greek loom based on these different sources of information to produce a body of data which can be compared to archaeological finds. Most often the only part left of the loom at archaeological sites are the warp weights, clay weights made to keep the string taut while the weaver works. When a loom is destroyed while in use, the weights on the loom drop to the ground. The pattern in which they fall can tell the archaeologist how the loom was constructed. Another form of evidence is textiles that have survived the ravages of time. Where applicable, samples were woven which can be compared to historic textiles to see how the loom on which the textiles were woven was constructed. These tests reveal many variables which may affect the evidence found at archaeological sites and how the loom was constructed. Presented in this thesis are records of weights which were dropped from the model loom to simulate the destruction of a loom while it is in use, along with sample weavings. This data can now be compared to finds at actual archaeology sites in order to understand how the looms used at the site were constructed.