If you have met me in person, you know that I’m not really one for much embellishment in my daily dress… or lots of colour. I am fascinated by those that do. It should therefore not be a surprise that I was captivated by this article about ancient sewing needles.
Yes, they used needles to sew the necessities — seams to provide clothing that kept prehistoric humans alive (and hopefully warm).
What I find interesting is that researches believe that they also decorated what they wore. Anthropologists surmise that clothing and ornamentation were not only for warmth in winter, but also communicated identity and affiliation. And perhaps items were chosen because the “looked good”. While the most sophisticated of diverse early stitch work may be found in North America, it also seems that multiple societies developed the technology independently.
Why is this important? It shows that these early humans had the capacity for complex thought. While it is not yet known if this enabled human migration, it hints that it could have been a contributing factor.
WOW. Next time you grumble about sewing a seam, please think on this article and how a humble sewing needle led to your life today.
The research article can be found in: Francesco d’Errico, Luc Doyon, Shuangquan Zhang, Malvina Baumann, Martina Lázničková-Galetová, Xing Gao, Fuyou Chen, Yue Zhang,
The origin and evolution of sewing technologies in Eurasia and North America, Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 125, 2018, Pages 71-86, ISSN 0047-2484, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.10.004.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004724841830085X) Your local library may have a subscription (NYPL offers it onsite. Disclaimer: I have yet to access the original article.)
Thank you for including the article in your newsletter Jillian! If you like interesting articles like this one, please watch for my posts on the Knitty Blog each Wednesday (Jillian posts about spinning on Tuesdays).