Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times New Discoveries About The Textile Arts Reveal Women S Unexpectedly Influential Role In Ancient SocietiesTwenty Thousand Years Ago, Women Were Making And Wearing The First Clothing Created From Spun Fibers In Fact, Right Up To The Industrial Revolution The Fiber Arts Were An Enormous Economic Force, Belonging Primarily To WomenDespite The Great Toil Required In Making Cloth And Clothing, Most Books On Ancient History And Economics Have No Information On Them Much Of This Gap Results From The Extreme Perishability Of What Women Produced, But It Seems Clear That Until Now Descriptions Of Prehistoric And Early Historic Cultures Have Omitted Virtually Half The PictureElizabeth Wayland Barber Has Drawn From Data Gathered By The Most Sophisticated New Archaeological Methods Methods She Herself Helped To Fashion

Barber received her PhD university from Yale in 1968.

❮Read❯ ➲ Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times ➵ Author Elizabeth Wayland Barber – Webcamtopladies.info
  • Paperback
  • 334 pages
  • Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times
  • Elizabeth Wayland Barber
  • English
  • 10 March 2017
  • 9780393313482

10 thoughts on “Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

  1. says:

    It took me far too long to write about this book Barber is the most engaging of fiber art historians, hands down The discipline has received far too little attention for far too many years, and it is wonderful to see so well respected a scholar attack, and love, the subject She is a weaver and general fiber artist as well as a linguist and archaeologist That combination of disciplines lends her rare insight She can spot bad research miles away and can also admit when she makes mistakes in her own experimental archaeology projects That is rare I first came across Barber because of her work on P.V Glob s The Bog People, one of my favorites I read this book slowly because I was loathe to finish it, but decided I could wrap things up once I had a copy of When They Severed Earth from Sky in my hot little hands Page after page, I found answers to questions that had been percolating in my head for years, decent illustrations of woven goods, pottery, and tools, and an open celebration of women s arts through history In short, string skirts are holy, spinning is truly revolutionary in every sense, sheep are our friends, women who make textiles rock, and this is a great book.

  2. says:

    I first read this book many years ago, and was recently reminded of it Very much an answer for all those people who look at standard histories and ask, But what were the women doing all that time It was also once favorably reviewed in Scientific American, I happily recall.Highly recommended For everyone, really, but very much for any writer thinking about their world building.Ta, L.

  3. says:

    This is basically the Guns, Germs, and Steel of textiles, fabrics, and the women who weave with them My entry point in this book was Gregory Clark s excellent Big History book A Farewell to Alms, where he discussed how in large part the first phase of the Industrial Revolution was almost entirely driven by productivity improvements in the textile industry Weaving being then as now a primarily female dominated industry, I was interested to learn about the sociological effects of that revolution, and though this book wasn t what I was expecting at all, covering only from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age, there s still lots that should be right up the alley of anyone looking for something in the intersection of archaeology, textiles, and the feminization of labor.There are probably many different economic rationales for why some professions have been considered women s work for tens of thousands of years, but the most basic one is pretty straightforward if some relatively simple task is compatible with having to take care of children, it will probably be women who are doing it Barber quotes a researcher who lists the following characteristic of such jobs they do not require rapt concentration and are relatively dull and repetitive they are easily interruptible I see a rueful smile on every care giver s face and easily resumed once interrupted they do not place the child in potential danger and they do not require the participant to range very far from home There s a lot to ponder in that description It s interesting that even in the 21st century it seems like knitting is still almost exclusively a female hobby, even when the woman in question doesn t have kids Barber doesn t go into why that is, but she does discuss the question of why, given that women dominated the ranks of knitters, most labor saving technology like the spinning jenny was invented by men Barber s explanation is that women were so busy trying to keep up with demand that didn t have the time to sit around and play with technology That sounds plausible, although it seems like even in ancient times enough clothing was being made for luxury use that at least one woman would have the time to think There s got to be a better way Regardless of how weaving came to be considered women s work, it s obvious that most of the women who did the work took pride in it and developed traditions around it Barber discusses how the basic style of string skirt that survives today in Eastern European peasant garb has been almost unchanged for nearly 20,000 years, which is pretty mindblowing Fascinatingly, it appears that certain advanced weaving concepts like the heddle were so conceptually difficult that they were only actually invented once thus allowing archaeologists to roughly date when various tribes split off from each other by whether they possessed the advanced concepts or not In between defining important terms like carding, twill, or worsted, Barber follows weavers from the earliest records of the Paleolithic through the Neolithic and the agricultural revolution, to Bronze Age societies like the Minoans, Middle Kingdom Egyptians, and Myceneans, and finally to the Iron Age and classical Greek civilization There s lots of good discussion behind things like the storytelling through fabric tradition that includes the famous Bayeux Tapestry, or why different types of looms were adopted in some places but not others, or how class structure did or did not affect weaving a surprising number of powerful queens wove just like commoners, albeit with higher quality fabrics , leavened with citations from all over the place, such as the Odyssey, Greek mythology, and peasant folklore like the stories in Grimm s.I was disappointed that she ended two thousand years before the vast changes of the Industrial Revolution even aside from the economic impact of the women in the textile industry then, surely the cultural impact of tricoteuses such as Madame Defarge in Dickens A Tale of Two Cities would have been worth a mention , and even today, women in the garment trade are a vital part of the development of countries like Bangladesh Probably the additional scope would have resulted in a book several times the size, but even with its limits, this is a very well researched and interesting look at the history of weaving and its role in the world from a primarily female perspective Barber is funny too here s her relating a story from Xenophon about Socrates friend Aristarchos buying a bunch of wool to keep his female houseguests busy As a result, resources were found, and wool was bought The women ate their noon meal while they worked, and quit working only at suppertime and they were cheerful instead of gloomy Presently Aristarchos returned to tell Socrates how splendidly everything was working out But, he adds, the ladies are displeased at one thing namely, that he himself is idle The story ends with Socrates suggesting that Aristarchos tell them that he is like the apparently idle sheepdog, who gets better treatment than the sheep because his protection is what allows them all to prosper.We do not hear how that fable went over with the women, but we know how it would be received today.

  4. says:

    I don t care who you are 20,000 years is a long time What this book tells us is simple Women clothed the human race because it was something they could do while raising the next generation There are cultures where this is still the case.It was a tradeoff and a good one But the sheer skill required to create first thread then weaving it into cloth is very hard to grasp Unless, of course, you re learning to spin yarn, like I am.I m going to step out on a limb Women have evolved with spinning and weaving serveing an integrial need in the brain We ve been bred for this for well 20k years So when I hear a woman say she loves to spin because it is relaxing soothing is my phrase I get it We live in a stressed out society One where we are separated from creation in it s most basic forms We are crammed into molds that fit our work, not who we are as humans De humanizing happens in all aspect of our lives The pull of spinning is no longer a mystery to me There is a part of me that WANTS to spin when I m waiting for something I m not looking for something to occupy my mind, like Spider or Face Book I m not tempted to spend endless hours on the internet I can spin wool into yarn anywhere and any time It s like fidgeting or smoking, without the cancer.

  5. says:

    The book really has of a focus on the Bronze Age than the Stone Age, with extensive sections on weaving in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Aegean so much so that I ve moved it from my Stone Age section to my Bronze Age section It is worth noting that, being published over 20 years ago, the book is out of date in some of its information For example, the author repeats the hypothesis of goddess worship at Catalhoyuk, something which site director Ian Hodder and his international team have disproved, and she also ascribes to the creative explosion notion whereby 40,000 years ago in Europe some sort of neurological or cultural change suddenly resulted in a flourishing of art but that proposition has been on shaky ground for years now, with discoveries turning up every year of art predating that arbitrary point However, I admit I didn t spot any other boo boos in the text, and the book is still a valuable resource, particularly for informing one about the life and occupation of Bronze Age women I ve never before read a book that is wholesale devoted to examining the work of women in the Bronze Age near east usually it just gets a few paragraphs or perhaps a chapter in a book about the Bronze Age in general, so this is a very valuable resource, and I can definitely see myself coming back to it for future reference.8 out of 10

  6. says:

    One of the most interesting books I ve ever read, although I m sure it won t sound that way when I describe it It s a discussion of weaving and its relation to women s historical roles The two are interconnected in some complicated and fascinating ways I borrowed a copy from my school library a few years ago because I d heard it was a good read, and actually need to get one of my own now so I can reread it sometime soon.

  7. says:

    Who knew there was a history to string Or how much can be deduced from ancient cloth fragments which have survived This is a fascinating book about recent theories and discoveries about weaving and cloth work in the ancient world based on archeological findings and cultural research Great illustrations With many references to Homeric women spinning and weaving, this was a good companion read for The Odyssey, but would appeal to anyone interested in the history of clothing or fabric arts.

  8. says:

    Whether your interest lies in the history of textiles, or in the history of woman s role in society, Elizabeth Barber has it covered from 20,000 BCE to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans The book developed out of her previous publication Pincetown University 1991 Prehistoric Textiles , which itself was the result of 17 years of research Ms Barber draws on every possible source archaeological finds modern forensic research ancient texts and drawings ancient sculptures as well as recent folk costumes, and not just from Europe but from across the globe She considers the materials available, the demands upon a woman s time, her changing place in society as agriculture developed and city states grew She examines the potential output of the two main types of loom, and their geographical distribution I found there wasn t an aspect of early textile production that she didn t cover, and all in easily accessible language I strongly recommend this book for anyone wanting to know of a woman s life in days gone by.

  9. says:

    Excellent book on the origins and development of spinning and weaving in Middle East and Europe Ms Barber, an archeologist and weaver, has an engaging style She not only tells us what we know about the early history of weaving, she shows us how we know She is also very apolitical in her approach she neither praises nor condemns the treatment of women throughout this early period of history Neolithic to the Iron Age She restricts herself to the data Highly recommended for those interested in social history, textiles, and women s history.

  10. says:

    Wonderful book, full of insights Women s role changes through history, but the constant is that women have the primary responsibility of early childhood rearing Women s work always has to be something that could be combined with a safe atmosphere for the children When farming was done with little than sticks, farming was women s work When farming was done with horses and a metal plow, farming was too dangerous for the children, so it became men s work So pragmatic Rational.

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