Nysa Noelle Loudon


Call for information on unusual fibres! If you have information on prehistoric European archaeological sites with plant-based textile remains that have yet to be looked at or information on folklore and sourcing modern equivalents of bast from such tree species as willow, oak, elm, or linden/lime or other unusual plants, such as golden hair moss or bog cotton, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out to the email above. 

Research title: The Ecology, Materials, and Aesthetics of Unusual Fibres

Research Summary

My project explores the link between prehistoric peoples’ relationship with their environment and choices of foraged fibres for textiles. The disappearance of ‘unusual’ lesser-known fibres such as tree basts, mosses, vines, etc. in favour of economically scalable domesticated fibres, has left a gap in our knowledge about the properties, sensory qualities, and craft required of these fibres. Analysis on the material and sensory properties of archaeological textiles across Eurasia, experimental modern equivalents, and the related paleoecology will illuminate how ancient peoples interacted with their environment through textiles. This research has implications for the modern textile industry and its environmental sustainability. Archival research, experimental and environmental archaeological methods, as well as textile-material science will address the following research questions:

  1. What are the material and sensory properties of unusual local plants used for textiles in finds across Eurasia from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic onwards?
  2. What associated environmental conditions and changes in usage can be inferred from material choices for textiles
  3. What implications do the diversity and properties of these ancient materials have for the modern textile industry, environmental sustainability, and cultural heritage?


This research is funded through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, Doctoral Training Program.

Additional Information


Environmental Archaeology M.Sc. Institute of Archaeology, University of London, Mark: First. Dissertation Title: "Grass Steppe for Tilling, Wetland for Weaving: Fiber Identification and Thread-making Technology Analysis of Charred Bast Textile Remains from Pre-Pottery Neolithic Ҫatalhöyük, Central Turkey".


Institute of Archaeology Master's Prize, University College London, 2019.

W.F. Grimes Prize for Environmental Archaeology, University College London, 2019.

Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences Dean's List for Excellence, University College London, 2019.


Textile Exhibition Intern, "Threads of Time," Conservation Lab, Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2016-2018.

Excavations and Surveys

Phase I Survey, Army Corps of Engineers' Colorado River Levee Project, Wharton, Texas, USA, New South Associates, May 2022.

Excavations at the Metoyer Land Grant Site, Cane River National Heritage Area, Louisiana, USA, Institute of Archaeology, University College London, April 2022.

Phase II Survey (Pre-contact), Redstone Arsenal, Hunstville, Alabama, USA, New South Associates, December 2021.

Vasagård Field School, Institute for Field Research, Bornholms Museum, Kulturhistorisk Museum, Bornholm, Denmark, August 2021.

Phase I Survey, Army Corps of Engineers' Colorado River Levee Project, Wharton, Texas, USA, New South Associates, July 2021.