historic textiles from Karanis
The Cloth Artifacts
Textiles and the Archaeology of Karanis
Where the textiles were found
An Important Find Site: House 124
Case 7
The Images
texts about textiles

Case 7: Finds from House 124

House 124, room B
House 124, room B
Showing objects as found in room B
Kelsey Museum Archives, 5.1582

Textile Finds and Other Assemblages from House 124

In the earlier phase of use marked by the buildings of layer B, only one textile was found, but the discovery of cloth-making tools, a spindle whorl and loom weight, suggest a context in which plain cloths were made in the home. Finds from house 124 on the surface layer A, including a spindle whorl and a total of seventy-four plain or minimally decorated, competently woven textiles, suggest that cloth-making activities may have continued during the later phase of use.

For each of the five rooms of house 124, a fairly distinctive assemblage can be reconstructed from excavation notes and photographs. The assemblages in room A, a large room, perhaps a courtyard, and adjacent rooms C and D contained few textiles, all plain and well worn. Other artifacts suggest multi-purpose rooms in which items were stored in various sorts of containers but where few items of value were kept.

In contrast, the assemblages in interior rooms B (see archival photo) and E (see artifacts in the case) included a wider variety of artifactual remains, such as the remains of food and serving dishes, more valuable pieces of jewelry and items associated with religious ritual, such as terracotta figurines and wall paintings. The cloth and other furnishings found in these rooms are of higher quality than those found elsewhere in the house.

It is possible that cloth-making and mending occurred here: textiles--some decorated with stripes, some mended--were found in greater numbers in these rooms along with unspun fibers and a spindle whorl. These interior rooms served multiple purposes as well: here, in comfortable private surroundings, meals were served and eaten, and prayers offered, perhaps in the company of sacred images.

Case 7

Karanis, 24-124A-G, R
Kelsey Museum, 11495
Painting fragment: dots

Karanis, 24-124E-I, R
Kelsey Museum, 26983
Karanis, 24-124E-F, R
Kelsey Museum, 3378
Painting fragment: horse’s head
Karanis, 29-B166*-H, R:*
Kelsey Museum, 26981
Plain cloth
Karanis, 24-124E-P, R
Kelsey Museum, 11556
Clay bowl
Karanis, 24-124E-b, R
Kelsey Museum, 7395
Painting fragment: a limb and cloth
Karanis, 24-124E-I, R
Kelsey Museum, 26982
Plain brown cloth
Karanis, 24-124E-P, R
Kelsey Museum, 11555
Glass sherd
Karanis, 24-124E-V, R
Kelsey Museum, 5846
Painting fragment: Harpocrates
Karanis, 24-124E-J, R
Kelsey Museum, 26984
Sturdy decorated cloth
Karanis, 24-124E-P, R
Kelsey Museum, 11567




Top of Page

45. Glass sherd, KM 5846 44. Clay bowl, KM 7395 43. Basket, KM 3378 42. Sturdy decorated cloth, KM 11567 41. Plain brown cloth, KM 11555 40. Plain cloth, KM 11556 39. Painting fragment: dots, KM 26983 38. Painting fragment: Harpocrates, KM 26984 36. Painting fragment: a limb and cloth, KM 26982 36. Painting fragment: horse's head, KM 26981 35. Cap, KM 11495