Celia Elliott-Minty

Research title: A Taxonomy of Braids: An Explanation for Archaeologists (and others).

Research Summary

The research will address the question:

  • What is the best way to describe and codify textile braids so that they can be readily understood by non-braiding specialists such as archaeologists?

And the related need:

  • To establish for the first time a corpus of surviving braids (within the parameters specified)

Textiles rarely survive in archaeological environments (unless these are very dry or waterlogged), and only in recent times have their historic and cultural importance been recognised. Braids (narrow obliquely interlaced structures) are even more ephemeral. Moreover, they are poorly understood and often mis-classified.

In this project, I will seek out what braids have survived throughout Britain, Ireland, and through north-western Europe to Scandinavia, dating from the Bronze Age up to 14th century CE, in order to examine and document their structures.  I will also aim to raise the awareness and understanding of braids amongst archaeologists and to champion their importance as practical and/or decorative artefacts.


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