Maria Emanuela Alberti
Mycenaean textile industry: textual and archaeological evidence
Textile industry is one of the main sectors of the Mycenaean palatial production, documented by a large number of administrative texts. Each major centre (Knossos, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae) had its peculiarity in managing the industry, but the general picture is clear: it was a large scale and highly specialised production. Only in recent years studies focused on the relevant archaeological evidence, especially spindle-whorls and loom-weights. During the palatial Mycenaean phase, these tools have a quite specific and homogeneous typology, pointing to the specialisation of the production, while in the previous and following phases the situation is quite different, suggesting a non-specialised production. What still needs investigation, however, is the functional identification of the contexts where the tools were found. Quite possibly, a stone carving workshop could produce steatite spindle-whorls, and then they could have been stocked in one of the large administrative buildings within the citadels, to be distributed to the textile workers. On the other hand, the identification of actual spinning or weaving work areas is still problematic.