The Fabric of Everyday Life
the importance of fabric
textile artifacts
picturing cloth
writing about fabric
Karanis in Egypt
The Wider World
historic textiles from Karanis
texts about textiles

textile artifacts

How might an archaeologist of the future interpret the clothes you are wearing and the other cloth items you will use today? First, she would need to analyze each item as an artifact. Cloth goods are also artifacts: that is to say they are tangible historic records, which attest to the needs and desires, and the behavior and actions of the people who made them and those who used them, to the people who transacted business with them, gave them away, or threw them away.


If we know how to read a piece of cloth as an artifact, then we can learn about its use, or worth, or how it reflects personal style or social practices. In order to understand cloth artifacts in this way, we must first recognize important features and anlayze them properly.

Important categories of artifactual features include:

Archival Photo: Discovery of a Hoard of Textiles
From the exhibition: Kelsey Museum archival photo 5.3744, showing discovery of abandoned textiles at Karanis.

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