Clothing around 7,000 BC

The Globe




Southwest Asia




Indus Valley

Like other early agriculturalists around the world, the early farming peoples of southern Asia solved the problem of clothing by domesticating a plant for fiber, specifically, cotton. Just as linen and wool were the staple textiles in Egypt and Mesopotamia, respectively cotton became the primary source of cloth for South Asia—as it did in Peru and elsewhere. Textiles are by no means the invention only of agriculturalists, however: various hunter-foragers around the world wove natural plant fibers into clothing. The growing populations of early farming cultures, however, and the need for seasonally adaptable and cheap clothing seems to have resulted in the domestication of a plant that could be grown intensively and easily converted to textiles. Cotton was probably domesticated in several areas of southern Asia between about 7000 and 5000 BC, but the evidence of precisely when and where this occurred unclear. (Patterns in Prehistory)




Dr. Barber said twining produced a more stable weave because the weft threads twisted around each other and prevented sliding. "When you see them switching from twining over to the true weave or plain weave by around 7000 BC, then they've figured out mechanization," she said. "They've given up stability of weave for speed of production." (83)

South America




North America

Between 9,000 and 2,500 years ago Desert West cultures worked out a marvelous array of subsistence technologies and strategies, and the aridity of the environment has preserved artifacts so well that we can reconstruct their way of life in considerable detail. Scraps of fur clothing have been found, as well as moccasins and woven sandals. (Patterns in Prehistory)

A human mummy found in Spirit Cave, Nevada, recently dated with the most advanced radiocarbon dating methods, was found to be a surprisinbg 9400 years old. This man was buried wearing moccasins and was wrapped in a shroud of neatly woven marsh plants. So expert was the weaving (a method known as "diamond plating") that it appears these people had already mastered the use of looms. (Patterns in Prehistory)

The original find in l940 of two amazingly well-preserved mummies was made by Sydney and Georgia Wheeler, a husband and wife archaeological team working for the Nevada State Parks division, who were commissioned to study the archaeological effects that guano mining was having on any possible historical remains to be found in the arid caves scattered across the Nevada wastelands.  The site was appropriately called Spirit Cave, and it is located thirteen miles east of Fallon, Nevada. In order to find the mummies and the sixty-seven related artifacts associated with the burial, the Wheelers had to dig through several feet of guano droppings that covered the base of the cave and preserved what lay underneath. The two human mummies were experrly wrapped in a highly sophisticated weaving made of tule matting that exhibited extremely fine knotting and hand weaving not thought to exist until thousands of years later. Because the mummies were sealed in bat guano the weavings are extremely well preserved, and they are arguably the greatest evidence of ancient weaving in the world. The male mummy was in berter condition and was found lying on a fur blanket, dressed in a twisted skin robe with leather moccasins on its feet and a twined mat sewn around its head and shoulders. A similar mat was wrapped around the lower portion of the body and bound under the feet. Skin remained on the back and shoulders as well as a small tuft of straight dark hair, which changed to reddish-brown when exposed to light and air. The age of the mummy was estimated at forty-five years and its height well in excess of six feet. The mummies were dated to 9,400 before the present, in what is scientifically referred to as uncalibrated radio-carbon years before present. The tests revealed that the mummy was of a Caucasian origin, with a long face and cranium that most closely resembled either Nordic or Ainu ancestry and bore no ancestral relationship to either rhe Paiute or Shoshone tribes.(The Giants Who Ruled America)