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Silk in Ancient Greece and its Resonance

An International Symposium, 19-22 September 2019


Welcome to the international symposium

Silk in Ancient Greece and its Resonance

organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, Lund University, ARTEX textile research centre and Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation.

The symposium will take place at the Italian School of Archaeology, 14 Parthenonos Street, September 19-22, 2019.

The study of ancient textiles is a dynamic discipline. Although they are rarely preserved, our source material continues to increase. Furthermore, new awareness of textiles used beyond clothes (e.g. carpets and sails) has lead archaeologists to search for traces elsewhere than graves. Modern technology can evince fabrics that are no longer extant through imprints for example on pottery, which further expands the available sources. Innovative approaches also deepen our knowledge: textile research inspires multi- and interdisciplinary collaboration between the humanities and natural sciences and thereby brings important insights; experimental archeology follows the chaîne opératoire and reveals the toil and time-consumption of textile production.

In this context, the Swedish Institute at Athens, Lund University, ARTEX textile research centre and Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation will organize an international conference focusing on an enchanting material: silk, loaded with negative as well as positive connotations of wealth, eroticism and exoticism. Researchers will gather in Athens 19-21/09/2019 to discuss new research within a broad framework ranging from the Aegean Bronze Age to Classical Athens, Rome, Byzantium and thence to Viking Age Scandinavia.



Sept 19

19.00-19.15 Jenny Wallensten, Peder Flemestad, Stella Spantidaki: Introduction

19.15-20.00​ Key-note Lecture: Berit Hildebrandt, Leibniz University, Hannover: The Provenance, Production and Manufacture of Silk in Ancient Greece: A Reassessment


Sept 20

9.00-09.30​ Registration and coffee

Session 1: A Literary Thread

09.30-10.00 Peder Flemestad, Lund University: Silk in the Second Sophistic

10.00-10.30 Ines Bogensperger, Austrian National Library: The Evidence of Silk in Papyrus Texts from Egypt

10.30-11.00 Mary Harlow, Leicester University: Spinning Tales of Silk: The use and Misuse of Silk in Late Antique Authors

11.00-11.30​ Coffee

Session 2: A Historical Thread I

11.30-12.00 Julia Galliker, University of Michigan: Silk in the Byzantine World: Transmission and Technology

12.00-12.30 Maria Sardi, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London: The Culture of Silk in the Mamluks (13th-16th c. A.D.)

12.30-13.00 Hedvig Landenius Enegren, Uppsala University: Silk in Cyprus Yesterday and Today: A Retrospective Exposé

Lunch for speakers

Session 3: A Historical Thread II

15.00-15.30 Amica Sundström, The Swedish History Museum: Silk Imitation from the Migration Period (400-550 AD) in Sweden

15.30-16.00​ Petra Linscheid, Bonn University: Early Silk North of the Alps: Silk Finds in Roman and Early Medieval Germany

16.00-16.30 Marianne Vedeler, Museum of Cultural History, Oslo: Attitudes to Silk in the Viking Age

20.00 Dinner for speakers

Sept 21

Session 4: A Material Thread

10.00-10.30​ Eva Panagiotakopoulou, Edinburgh University: Wild Silk from the Aegean: An Archaeoentomological perspective

10.30-11.00 Christophe Moulherat, Musée du Quai Branly, Serge Berthier, Institut des NanoSciences de Paris-Sorbonne, Bernd Schollhorn, Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7 Laboratoire dʼElectrochimie Moléculaire, Camille Aracheloff, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6: From Cocoon to Textile - Structure and Colour

11.00-11.30​​ Christina Margariti, Center for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen ​​& Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments, Hellenic Ministry of Culture: The Effects of Artificial Degradation on Silk Fibres

11.30-12.00​ Coffee

Session 5: Tying Up the Threads

12.00-12.30 Amica Sundström, The Swedish History Museum & Stella Spantidaki, Artex & University of the Aegean: The Reconstruction of a Roman Silk Textile

12.30-13.00​​ Kalliope Sarri, Center for Textile Research, Copenhagen University: Experiment and Experience: Hands-on Approaches to the Equipment and Technology of Ancient Textiles

13.00-13.30 Maria Venizelea, Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation: Silk Stories

13.30 Concluding remarks

Sept 22

All day  Day trip to Soufli for speakers


Attached files: Poster, Programme

Printed: 2024-02-21
From the web page: Swedish Institute at Athens