Early fibers and
A few details: Professor E.
J. W. Barber is a woman, not a man. Her book Prehistoric Fabrics is a
classic but quite a bit of new research has been conducted since 1991. The
earliest "weavings" attributed to Catal Huyuk that I recall being
discussed in her book are loosely woven almost gauze like weavings made
from bast fibers. I am not aware of evidence that these fibers were grown
or harvested in or around Catal Huyuk. Other plant fibers such as those
from hemp as referenced by the learned but anonymous contributor were most
likely of the same structure and very loosely woven but were not found at
Catal Huyuk to my recollection. I do not recall Professor Barber's
discussion of felts at Catal Huyuk, if any.
More to the point of
this interesting thread, I am not aware of the reasons why sheep would
have needed to be domesticated for their wool to be used in felt making.
My understanding is that wool could not be used for weaving prior to
domestication because of the nature of the fibers pre-domestication - not
long enough and not pliable enough. But I don't necessarily believe this
would preclude their use in felt making which is not a woven structure so
far as I understand it. As such, Patrick Weiler's conjecture that fleece
of wild sheep or other animals could have been used for bedding and
evolved into a felt process in the distant past does not seem too
Finally, readers may be interested to go back to
Christie's London April 2011 auction where a felt radio-carbon dated to
300 - 400 BC was auctioned. It is a rare opportunity to see a very early
felt - there is a link form the Hali website news section if you cannot
find it on the Christie's site.
With friendly greetings,