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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Dr Karen Milek

Stirling, Lindsey & Milek, Karen (2015). Woven Cultures: New Insights into Pictish and Viking Culture Contact Using the Implements of Textile Production. Medieval Archaeology 59(1): 47-72.

Author(s) from Durham


THIS PAPER PRESENTS A new approach to Pictish and Viking culture contact in Orkney using the material culture of everyday life, focusing in this case on implements used in textile production. The production of textiles was a major component of everyday life between the 5th and 12th centuries and the tools of production have survived well in the archaeological record. This paper uses a study of the implements used in textile production from six Viking and Pictish period sites on Orkney to assess the nature of textile production at this time and investigate whether or not it was affected by the arrival of Scandinavians. The results demonstrate that significant changes took place at the beginning of the Viking Age, with different thicknesses of thread being spun and woven, new materials and styles of artefacts being used, and new types of tools employed for particular tasks. The early Viking Age (9th–10th centuries) produced a great variety of textile tools, representing both Pictish and Scandinavian practices, suggesting a time of transition in which both Pictish and Viking styles were accommodated.