History & Archaeology

Needlework and archaeology

I am now watching this documentary, Solutreans: The First Americans. This documentary’s intention is to discuss the Solutrean hypothesis which stated that there are people from Europe who actually migrated towards the Americas, judging by the similarities found amongst the stone tools which belonged to the Solutrean culture.

Wait, Dee… what the heck is Solutrean? – you say?

Well, Solutrean is an industry known to have developed in Europe during the Upper Palaeolithic which happened some times between 22,000 to 17,000 Before Present (please do not commence any countdowns now, you’ll hurt your head). According to the mighty Wikipedia, “Solutrean” is named after the type-site of Crôt du Charnier at Solutré in the Mâcon district, Saône-et-Loire, eastern France, and appeared around 21,000 BP. (ref: “Solutrean” and “Solutrean Hypothesis” at Wikipedia. Click on the link for further readings, yeah? I believe you know how to trace the references.) The site was discovered by a geologist (ahem!) in 1866 and was named as a culture by Monsieur Gabriel de Mortillet according to his system of cave chronology, just like Mousterian, Magdalenian, Gravettian and some more (now, don’t you remember your Prehistory of Europe 101??? *smiles* I’m happy I had the chance to enjoy this class); and is considered as the sub-subject on the Quaternary Prehistory (oh yeah, of course…. what else!)

Ooookaaay… what the heck is this has to do with needlework? – Would you please wait a sec, I’m making my point, yes!?

The infamous industries appeared during this period were technologies of tools, beads, bone pins, as well as prehistoric art. One of these findings is: NEEDLE. Yay! People back then made needles out of bone splinters and at first, there was no perforation in one side to hold the ‘thread’. Later on, when they discovered boring tool (obviously to make perforations of some sort), the needles were finally reached their today’s form. They used this tool to join garments, apparently to make clothings warm enough to get through with the Last Glacial Maximum (maybe that’s the trend back then, if we compared to today’s Global Warming). Having comfort enough clothings and other skills and opportunity, they managed to migrate westward to the Americas – as some scholars have argued. But, a little trivia here, that Straus did not concur with the hypothesis. He said that the timeline during the LGM and the development of Clovis culture in the Americas did not match at all. Plus, he argued that the Clovis people did not consume marine fish or mammals and that the Solutreans ate food from land-based hunting and resources of littoral and riverine, but never oceanic ones. (I’m sorry, what?) Okay, overall, he did not agree because, the Solutreans lived 5,000 years prior to the Clovis and the distance of more than 5,000 kms was definitely a trouble (ref: “The Solutrean-Clovis Connection”). [I am writing this, but I don’t get the arguments… LOL]

Needlework, Dee… Needlework….

Yes yes… I am simply amazed how a simple small tool from tens of thousands years ago is still sitting on my sewing table and am using it almost every day to sew. The thought of that at first this tool functioned as an important gadget to make clothings to get through the day (unlike your Bl***berries, which is totally out-of-contextually unimportant, depending on your needs [read: needs to follow trends]) – and today, needles and needlework are considered to be a part of haberdashery, for leisure and/or therapeutical reasons. Imagine if they hadn’t thought of joining garments (read: sew), there might not be any Solutreans or Clovis culture, considering if the hypothesis is correct.

The wonder of archaeology…


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