Neolithic Clothing Types

Written by charles clay
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Neolithic Clothing Types
Neolithic clothing advanced beyond the popular image of crude animal hides. ( Images)

During the Neolithic Transition humanity began to practice sedentary agriculture in addition to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that characterises the Paleolithic. Along with agriculture came a suite of related technological and cultural advances. Among these advances were new techniques in the production of clothing. While direct evidence for textiles is rare due to their organic nature, the tools and accessories for producing clothing are more durable and produce a clear picture of clothing during the Neolithic.

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Furs and unscraped hides remained popular materials for clothing, even in areas where technology was advancing. Furs provided warmth and protection from the elements far beyond other Neolithic clothing materials, and required comparatively little processing. Furs were often pinned together using simple bone fasteners rather than stitched. They remained in wide use as a primary clothing material in cold climates and areas with harsh winters.


The Neolithic saw significant advances in tanning techniques for leather. When properly tanned, leather is more durable and workable than partially cured hides, providing a greater return on investment for hunting and skinning animals. Tanned leather is also thin and tough enough to be stitched together in addition to being pinned into place. Bone needles and sinew threads have been discovered at Neolithic sites that would have allowed the construction of well-formed leather garments.


Flax, wool and goat hair were commonly spun into thread during the Neolithic. The rise of agriculture during this time allowed regular access to these materials, and cloth was a common product of Neolithic communities. While a significant portion of textile production was used to create nets, twine and other utilitarian objects, evidence for flax and wool clothing has been discovered at many Neolithic sites.


While most modern depictions of Neolithic clothing are rendered in various shades of brown, dying cloth appears to have been a common practice during the Neolithic. Evidence for dyed textiles is commonly found at sites dating back at least 6,000 years. Plant and animal-based dyes were used to create clothing in bright shades of red, yellow and blue.

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