ComTex: Community for Textile Archaeology and Conservation

Hana Lukesova and Margarita Gleba
ComTex Co-Chairs

The EAA has established the new Community for Textile Archaeology and Conservation (ComTex) and invites Members to sign in on the EAA website and to subscribe here to receive ComTex news.

Archaeological textile research has been an understudied area in history and archaeology. However, in the past twenty years, the field has witnessed a major dynamism as demonstrated by numerous conferences and publications on the topic and the establishment of large-scale interdisciplinary collaborative programmes funded both on the national and EU level. However, the field nevertheless remains somewhat specialised, research is not widely integrated into wider archaeological discourse and the related material found during excavations is sometimes lost or damaged due to a lack of access to the necessary expertise. The EAA Community for Textile Archaeology and Conservation aims to break down these barriers by promoting the fundamental importance of textiles during at least the past 20,000 years of human evolution to the wider archaeological community and demonstrating the secrets that ‘little brown rags’ can reveal about the past when properly studied and conserved.

ComTex’s aims are:

  • To create connections across archaeological fields, enabling textile evidence to be fully integrated into interpretative narratives;
  • To promote the study and conservation of textiles across all periods and regions within the EAA and beyond;
  • To create forums for the discussion of research directions, best practices, common documentation standards and issues of importance to textile archaeologists and conservators;
  • To establish partnerships with specialists working on similar issues (other relevant EAA Communities, UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICOM-CC, E.C.C.O., etc.);
  • To be a resource for sharing expertise and best practices in textile archaeology and conservation to the EAA community, students, and researchers;
  • To raise the profile of textile archaeology and conservation within the EAA by organising and coordinating sessions related to textile archaeology and conservation at EAA Annual Meetings, particularly including sessions of general interest allowing for wide participation;
  • To promote the EAA among textile archaeologists and conservators and integrate them into the European archaeological community as a whole;
  • To foster cross-European networks and collaborations;
  • To promote activities to engage the general public with textile research;
  • To contribute to open science through the sharing of data, tools, and methodologies.

At the next annual EAA meeting in Belfast, ComTex is organising a workshop entitled “Textiles in archaeology, conservation, and museology: finding a way forward through collaboration”, which aims to compare practices in different European countries and raise ethical dilemmas that are often solved following local cultural traditions, to explore and promote a conscious diversity instead of creating blind standardisation and to find best practice solutions for all stakeholders.

The workshop session is planned as an interactive discussion pool with 15 brief presentations divided into five modules and short groupwork. The final discussion will be rounded up by the session’s summary.

Persons interested in working further with ComTex are welcome to contact the co-chairs via the ComTex EAA website.

Go back to top