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Advanced Analytical Techniques for Heritage Textiles

Edited by Christina Margariti (Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Greece), Hana Lukesova (University of Bergen, Norway), Francisco B. Gomes (University of Lisbon, Portugal)

New Content ItemTextiles and textile-related material constitute an important domain of material culture. Textiles require advanced levels of technology to be produced from the making of threads and their interlocking to produce fabric, to intrinsically made bands, ropes, cordage and strings, nets, felting and even basketry.  In addition, people in antiquity used almost any type of fiber available to them locally to make objects like textiles, ropes and baskets. The final products were easy to carry and usually necessary for the transportation of other commodities. A textile is a product of complex interaction between resources, technology and society. Consequently, the study of this material provides information on the economy, technological and cultural developments, trading routes, and the environment of the societies that produced them. The investigation of extant finds is arguably the most direct source of information, that when aided by instrumental analysis gives particularly useful data on material identification, condition assessment and dating of the finds. However, archaeological textiles and related material are rare, excavated finds due to their inherent sensitivity to the conditions prevailing at a burial. Therefore, the application of instrumental analysis holds a key role in the understanding of textile finds and any advancements in scientific analysis can be particularly beneficial when applied to the study of textiles.

This collection in Heritage Science brings together the latest developments on fiber and material identification of heritage textiles. It sheds light on the latest advancement of instrumental analysis and how these can be applied to enable progress in textile research. This collection is based upon work from COST Action Europe through Textiles (acronym EuroWeb) CA 19131 supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).


  1. One of the foremost challenges facing analysis of historical textiles is that the gold standard technique—high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)—is inherently destructive. This is especially problematic...

    Authors: Caelin P. Celani, Ilaria Degano, Carolyn Chen, Olivia Jaeger, Amelia M. Speed, Karl S. Booksh and Jocelyn Alcantara-Garcia
    Citation: Heritage Science 2024 12:48
  2. Archaeological artifacts play important role in understanding the past developments of the humanity. However, the artifacts are often highly fragmented and degraded, with many details and parts missing due to ...

    Authors: Davit Gigilashvili, Hana Lukesova, Casper Fabian Gulbrandsen, Akash Harijan and Jon Yngve Hardeberg
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:259
  3. We have recently studied northern Finnish archaeological textiles extensively using computed tomography (CT) imaging. These textiles have been found in inhumation burials from the Late Medieval church of Valma...

    Authors: Sanna Lipkin, Ville-Pauli Karjalainen, Hanna-Leena Puolakka and Mikko A. J. Finnilä
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:231
  4. The knitted cap was the ubiquitous and most visible garment men wore throughout early modern society, from apprentices to royals. Documentary evidence also suggests that red was a conventional color for specif...

    Authors: Paula Nabais, Jane Malcolm-Davies, Maria João Melo, Natércia Teixeira and Beatrice Behlen
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:220
  5. The Liao Dynasty’s highly developed textile industry was characterized as “the best in the world” in ancient Chinese literature. This study analyzed two textiles on a 蹀躞 (DieXie) belt excavated from the No.1 L...

    Authors: Ruochen Ge, Lili Cong, Yongping Fu, Bing Wang, Guiyun Shen, Bing Xu, Mingzhou Hu, Han Yu, Jie Zhou and Lu Yang
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:217
  6. This manuscript explores the potential of macro-X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) for the non-invasive analysis of heritage textiles. XRF, especially with the portable instruments, is a well-known technique for the ...

    Authors: Ina Vanden Berghe, Marina Van Bos, Maaike Vandorpe and Alexia Coudray
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:183
  7. Cotton (Gossypium species) was used as textile fibre already in the early Indus culture, and since then it has been cultivated in Tropical and Subtropical regions around the whole planet. The species G. hirsutum ...

    Authors: Jenni A. Suomela, Mira Viljanen, Kirsi Svedström, Krista Wright and Sanna Lipkin
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:175
  8. Archaeological textiles are suitable material for radiocarbon dating as they are mainly made of organic matter, such as plant and/or animal fibres. Radiocarbon dating provides objective age estimates of archae...

    Authors: Christina Margariti, Gabriela Sava, Tiberiu Sava, Mathieu Boudin and Marie-Louise Nosch
    Citation: Heritage Science 2023 11:44
  9. The accessioning of ancient textiles into museum collections often requires objective information regarding the object’s appropriateness and authenticity before purchase or gift acceptance. In the case of colo...

    Authors: Gregory D. Smith, Victor J. Chen, Amanda Holden, Negar Haghipour and Laura Hendriks
    Citation: Heritage Science 2022 10:179