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How to use the database "Textile List"

Collection / Museum

Collection / Museum

Name of the collections where the textile is kept. As a rule, from here the samples were sent to the different laboratories for radiocarbon analysis.

No. of inventory / acquisition

Some collections have nos. of acquisition instead of nos. of inventary.

Entry into collection

For radiocarbon analysis this date is of interest because it often supplys us with at least a rough idea about the time when the textile was taken from its former context.


Name of textile

Name which became familiar in scientific publications (for example "Colluthus hanging" in Brussels). If there is no such name you will find an "ordinary" designation (hanging with figures, or similar).

Material (textile)

As textiles may contain more than one material in this columm every material used is listed. So far the database contains textiles made of flax, hemp, linen silk and wool. The content of this columm may differ from „material sample“. For particularities the hint "cf. comments" is added.


So far the database contains weavings with the following binding or structure: tabby, twill, tapestry, samit, taqueté, which describes the general structure. Sometimes hints to special features are added like "floating wefts" (explained, for example, in Schorta 1998, 53/9), which might be features of an extra group (see also "Parallels").
For particularities the hint "cf. comments" is added.

Associated culture / period

This may concern the region where a textile was woven as well as the rough period it belongs to. To keep the number of possibilities limited we would like to propose a selection: antique, Roman, late antique, early medieval, early Islamic, early Byzantine, Central Asian (we deliberately avoid the term "Coptic").


Parallels are textiles which show striking similarities to the textile in question. In most cases this will be the identical combination of obvious features, as e. g. large woollen tunics with a distinctive figure style (see De Moor / Van Strydonck / Verhecken-Lammens 2004) or iconographical features with a particular technique (see the "Registerbehänge", e. g. Abegg-Stiftung inv. 2439: Schrenk 2004, 50). It might as well concern technical particularities, such as floating wefts (see also "Technique").
These related textiles form a group. It is the idea of this database to draw attention to these groups or to dated textiles which could form such a group. The more related textiles of a group are dated the more reliable it is to generalize the date achieved and to transfer this date also to other related textiles (see "The Project"). (Statistically seen only a number of about 5 related textiles or more provide a reliable foundation.)
A special link will be attached to the textiles which belong to a group so that you can find them.
Please note: The assignment of a textile to a group is not done by us, who just feed the database, but by you. As the database is not the place where such an assignment can be discussed, this assignment should already be published and explained in a scientific paper (as is the case with the two examples mentioned above). So, please, send us a reference of this discussion, as well.


In this field you find very different kinds of information important to the textile for which no additional columns were created: more information on the findspot, on particularities of the making of the textile, of the technique or similar.


Here you will find the most important publications on the textile in question which also lead you to photos of the object. The number of articles listed here is, again, the choice of the persons who sent us the information, not our own selection. For an explanation of the abbreviations see "Literature / Bibliography".


Lab code

This code is given to the sample by the laboratory which undertakes the analysis. If any questions concerning the date should arise, you can turn to the laboratory itself and receive further information with the help of this number.

14C-Date yBP, deviation

These data are most important for the database - even though they are not comprehensible to many people, because they are not yet calibrated, i. e. turned into calendar dates. However, to provide the best possible conditions for comparison we decided to calibrate all data coming in once again (we use the calibration program OxCal, version 4.1 from 2009). This can only be done by knowing the 14C-data. In case you prefer to use a different calibration program of course these data are essential as well.

Year submitted

The date concerns the time when the sample was taken and sent to the particular laboratory for analysis.

Dating (Historical-dated textiles)

Date supplying information

Historical-dated textiles are textiles dated due to inscriptions (f.e. the so called „Löwenstoff“ of St. Servatius in Siegburg, Germany. The woven greek inscription refers to Emperor Romanos. The silk can therefore be dated to 921-923. For further information see P. Brachwitz, Der „Löwenstoff“ - Geschichte und Konservierung eines byzantinischen Seidengewebes, in S. Martius – S. Ruß (Hrsg.), Historische Textilien. Beiträge zu ihrer Erhaltung und Erforschung (Nürnberg 2002)) or due to a study of their stratigraphic context and relationship. Hence in this collumm you find the information „inscription“ or „stratigraphic context“. For particularities as the contents of the inscription or further information on the context see „comments“.


In the majority of cases the age determination contains a time period or is indicaded due to a terminus post quem or ante quem.



The widest possible area with its name of today, as "Europe", "North Africa", "Central Asia"...

Location / town

Here a smaller unit is meant. This could be a town's name or a more general name as in the information "Fayoum". For a town the recent as well as the old or a particular popular name will occur (e. g. Shech Abade, Antinoe, Antinooplis).

Context / layer / unit

This means the exact findspot, e. g. "tomb no. 25", "layer 3 of dump xy", "garden h of the house in insula I, 3, 7", "Shrine of St Lambertus in Liège (Belgium)".

Geographical coordinates

The dates concern the precise find spot of the textile (not just the town or similar).