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Kearney, Dolores

Weaving Stories: Reconstructing the Manufacture, Uses and Discarding of Textiles and Cloth in Early Medieval Ireland and Beyond, AD 500-1100.

PhD Candidate: Dolores Kearney
Supervisors: (opens in a new window)Professor Aidan O’Sullivan(opens in a new window)Dr Brendan O'Neill
Funded By: (opens in a new window)Irish Research Council


This project will investigate the making, uses, discard and deposition of early medieval textiles and cloth in Ireland and beyond using archaeological evidence, historical sources, and experimental archaeological replication. It will explore early medieval textile production as a complex conversation of techniques and technologies that will reconstruct lives using clothing, and the afterlife of cloth structured by a gender narrative interpretation. While it might be presumed that archaeology and history have left us only scraps of textile evidence, in fact, when the full production and use of textiles and its technologies is considered, from spindle whorls to loom weights, from cloth fragments to sewing needles, it is in fact, a rich but often neglected body of data.

A key aspect of this project will be the utilisation of experimental archaeology, which encourages us to think through our hands, our sight, and smell about the ways of making cloth, from tools, to processing and modification, and to use. By replicating the warp and weft of individual pieces of early medieval cloth, we encounter the intricacies of making, the time taken, the problem-solving, the knowledge displayed. In doing so, we can begin to weave stories of their makers and the entangled worlds they lived in

Contact UCD School of Archaeology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8312 | E: archaeology@ucd.ie