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Fascinating Account of a 2800 Year-old Cloth

imageAlex Knapp writes in Forbes, Ancient Burial Cloth Provides Clues To Bronze Age Trade:

Previous archaeological research has established that there was a thriving trade in metal objects throughout Europe. Indeed, the urn that the remains were found in was also from Central Europe. Until now, however, there wasn’t any evidence of textile trade.

The origin of the goods is determined by measuring the levels of strontium isotopes in the material. Different geographic regions have different levels of strontium, so by examining those isotopes, archaeologists are able to figure out where materials originated.The age of the cloth was determined by Carbon-14 dating.

What’s particularly interesting about this cloth is that its weaved from nettle, rather than the flax and hemp that were more commonly produced. This suggests that that the cloth was a luxury item – the Bronze Age equivalent of silk. What’s unclear, though, is how the textiles got to Denmark. It may be that there was a trade in nettle cloth – something that further research might be able to determine if more samples of the textile are found in other sites. Alternatively, it’s possible that the person who died did so in Austria, and his remains were then returned to Denmark.

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