Trash or Cache? The Textile Evidence from the Nah. al ‘Omer Middens as an Indicator of Early Islamic-Period Trade Networks along Israel’s Silk Road

Orit Shamir, Berit Hildebrandt, Roy Galili, Nofar Shamir, Guy Bar-Oz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Middens provide an important source of data for exploring the history of ancient settlements. Excavations at the middens of Nahal ‘Omer, an Early Islamic way-station in the ‘Arava desert, yielded a treasure-trove of textiles, such as silk and cotton, including ikats probably imported from India or South Arabia. The Early Islamic period witnessed a flourishing of artistic and cultural achievements, with textiles playing a central role in expressing creativity. The Silk Road, Mediterranean trade routes and connections with India and Central Asia facilitated the movement of textiles and inspired cross-cultural influences. This period probably witnessed a “textile revolution” that was characterized by the increase in cotton and silk cultivation. In this paper, we discuss how the treasures from the middens shed light on the production and trade of textiles along trade routes between east and west through three important textile groups: ikat, silk and zilu.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-200
Number of pages26
JournalATIQOT
Volume112
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Bioarcheology
  • connectivity
  • cotton
  • Early Islamic period
  • ikat
  • middens
  • Nahal ‘Omer
  • silk
  • Textile analyses
  • zilu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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