Tree bark in the textiles of the Neolithic lakeshore settlements in south-western Germany
| 63 view(s) | 2022/09/07
In the Neolithic of south-west Germany, not only stone, flint, clay or wood are important raw materials, but also tree bark. From several excavations in waterlogged settlements in Baden-Württemberg, around 2200 textiles were recovered. These were encountered in settlements that date from the Neolithic until the Bronze Age. The main number of textiles came to light in the lakeshore settlement of Hornstaad-Hörnle, which burnt down in autumn 3910 BCE. Former analysis of the plant material on the textiles of these sites found linum (Linum usitatissimum), but also a high percentage of tree bast, mainly of the lime tree (Tilia) (i.e., Körber-Grohne and Feldtkeller 1998). However, a comprehensive overview on the textiles in Baden-Württemberg was lacking so far. This was the main aim of the interdisciplinary THEFBO project (www.thefbo.de), financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Further aims were to register the preservation conditions, study the technical properties of modern tree bast and to determine the plant material used for textiles.
This talk focuses on the taxonomic identifications of tree bast in textiles from Neolithic lakeshore settlements,. During the project, a reference collection of modern barks was compiled. The focus was on those tree species, which are proven to have grown in the Neolithic, according to archaeobotanical and dendrological analyses. From these, stained microscopic thin sections of the transversal and tangential view were produced. Within the project, a first synthesis of tree bark features was described for eight species. The comparison of different bark parameters made differentiation between the species possible. Lime has i.e., a unique pattern of wide phloem ray dilatation and tangential rows of phloem fibers. Using this reference collection, archaeological tree bast material was determined.