1 Aarhus University2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Science and Technology, Aarhus University3 University of Bergen4 The Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Textile Research, The National Museum of Denmark5 University of Copenhagen6 Institute of Achaeology, University College London7 School of Conservation8 National Museum of Denmark9 University of Copenhagen10 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
It is generally assumed that the production of plant fibre textiles in ancient Europe, especially woven textiles for clothing, was closely linked to the development of agriculture through the use of cultivated textile plants (flax, hemp). Here we present a new investigation of the 2800 year old Lusehøj Bronze Age Textile from Voldtofte, Denmark, which challenges this assumption. We show that the textile is made of imported nettle, most probably from the Kärnten-Steiermark region, an area which at the time had an otherwise established flax production. Our results thus suggest that the production of woven plant fibre textiles in Bronze Age Europe was based not only on cultivated textile plants but also on the targeted exploitation of wild plants. The Lusehøj find points to a hitherto unrecognized role of nettle as an important textile plant and suggests the need for a re-evaluation of textile production resource management in prehistoric Europe.
Scientific Reports, 2012, Vol 2, Issue 664, p. 1-4