Charred and brittle, these pieces of tissue are able to give a new look on life of prehistoric people, thanks to the development of chemical analysis of textiles. In the past, scientists recovered fragments of life of prehistoric people solely on the specifics of their remains and the staunchest of archeological finds — tools, weapons and other artifacts made of stone, bone, shell, metal and clay. And organic materials like fabric and wood preserved in a suitable form for the study of extremely rare.
• On such scraps can learn a lot
"Fabrics are so fragile that they do not very often get in the archaeological catalogs" — says Joseph Lambert of Northwestern University in the U.S.. — "To get rid of this limitation, in the past often had to study tissue prints on objects over long-term use."
The earliest evidence of tissue — it's carved image "dressing modesty" and hats on the statues of Venus — female figures with exaggerated breasts and hips — whose age is estimated to be 22,000 years old. In the caves of France were found twisted fibers made about 15,000 years ago. Recent advances in technology and methods of chemical analysis have increased scientists' ability to study the organic remains of these ancient sites. Experts on textiles based on very small quantities of material can now shed light on the life of prehistoric people. A fabric can tell that people are aware of the resources that exist in the environment, what skills and techniques they had been found plants and how long it took to process them — as well as other details of the spinning and weaving.
Remains of fabrics have come to us through the centuries in various ways. Sometimes fragments preserved by burning dead bodies (as they were heated to a high temperature, they could not biodegradable), others were protected by a close contact with the copper — today they are "encrusted" blue and green minerals containing copper. Improving techniques allow scientists to study a great deal about the structure and composition of fibers and yarns. Some particular burnt fibers can tell whether the tissue is colored way or another.