hallstatt

Quality of textiles in Hallstatt

There are clear differences in quality between the Bronze Age textiles and the Iron Age textiles found in Hallstatt. Textiles from the Bronze Age, mostly made using plain weave, are rougher, while the yarn is coarser, thicker and less dense than that used during the Hallstatt Period. Nevertheless, finds also include fine materials and more technically complex fabrics made using twill weave, two of which are made of flax. It has also been shown that even during this early period textiles were dyed blue (using indigotine) and yellow (using apigenin and luteolin) and patterns were woven into fabrics using yarns with different twists.

In the Hallstatt Period the material became finer, as shown by many textile finds from the Eastern Group of mines in Hallstatt.  As the materials became more refined, the amount of time needed to produce them rose enormously.

Characteristics of Bronze Age textiles
Characteristics of Hallstatt Period textiles
Patterns and designs from the Hallstatt Period

 

Characteristics of Bronze Age textiles

There are clear differences between Bronze Age textiles and those from the Hallstatt Period. Most textiles dating from the Bronze Age are coarse, single-color and made of thick wool yarn (1-2mm). They are loosely woven using plain weave. The surface is often heavily felted or fulled. However, a number of textiles have been found showing fine or technically complex twill weave.

Bronze Age materials found in the Hallstatt mines appear very basic, yet this was the style employed throughout Europe during this time.  Even the famous clothes found in Danish Bronze Age tree-coffins are made of coarse and unicolor wool fabrics comparable to those found in Hallstatt.  Indeed, current research indicates that the textiles found in Hallstatt were among the most advanced used in the Bronze Age. Hallstatt is also home to the oldest twill weave fabrics found in Europe as well as the oldest decorated tablet weave fabrics and the oldest confirmed use of the blue dye indigotine. During the Middle Bronze Age a number of innovations emerged in Hallstatt which are still used in modern textiles.
 

Characteristics of Hallstatt Period textiles

In the Hallstatt Period the materials became finer, as shown by many textile finds from the Eastern Group of mines in Hallstatt.  Certain materials found have threads that are just 0.1-0.2mm thick (similar to those used today for sewing) and a weaving density of 20-30 threads per centimeter. Complex, time-consuming weaving structures were often used during the Hallstatt Period. As well as simple plain weave, panama weave and, in particular, a wide range of twill weave patterns were used.
 

Patterns and designs from the Hallstatt Period

Colorful, decorative, check and striped patterns were popular during the Hallstatt Period. One particularly impressive technique was spin patterning, a method using yarns with different twist patterns. Yarns can be spun clockwise or anticlockwise. The result is that the fibers run from right to left or left to right. If these yarns spun in different directions are then put together and used as warp ends for weaving, each creates its own striped pattern by reflecting the light. These striped patterns can be woven together to form a check pattern.

Colors were also often employed, either as solid blocks of color (blue, yellow and red) or in more complex decorative patterns such as checkered patterns and stripes made using tablet weaving.  Therefore, textiles from the Hallstatt Period were characterized by quality, diversity and creativity.

(Groemer, K.)