The World's Oldest Weavings

Turns out the fashions of prehistoric times that we all saw on the Flintstones was nothing like the real thing.

Handwoven Editors Dec 4, 2015 - 2 min read

The World's Oldest Weavings Primary Image

Photo credit Vincent Foret on UnSplash

Paleolithic fashion has long been depicted as loin cloths and animal-skin togas, and for many years, this is what most people believed to be true. New weaving discoveries tell us however that these Flinstones-esque images are completely wrong.

In fact, archaeologists are now arguing that these ancient peoples were accomplished weavers. Archaeologists have found clay fragments dating to around thirty thousand years ago that have clear impressions of woven textiles. These impressions show evidence of a finely woven cloth, similar to linen, in both plain weave and twill. The twill pattern is especially important because it hints that early humans had most likely started weaving generations before these impressions were made. Think about it: you have to understand plain weave before you can even fathom twill.

Closer examinations of some of the famous Venus figurines give us additional evidence of prehistoric fashions. Various Venuses, including the famous Venus of Willendorf show evidence of radially woven hats, woven belts, skirts made of twisted fibers, and woven bandeaux—a sort of proto-bra without cups.

So next time you see an image of Raquel Welch clothed in animal skins, know that prehistoric fashion was a bit more sophisticated than that.