Ancient Textiles – Modern Hands

Textile artists, professional and leisure practitioners from around the world share their expertise in an experimental project on Late Antique Textiles.

ancient, textiles, craftmanship

The project overview

Area of Science: Humanities
Location: independent of location
Used Devices: with PC/Mobile
Equipment of citizen scientists: Materials for weaving (warp, weft); eventually materials for dyeing; loom or other equipement, such as needles, depending on the technique chosen.
Activities of citizen scientists: sharing ideas, observing, collecting, measuring, photographing, other activities
Suitable for: Youngsters and adults
Project duration: 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2019
Time to join in: 01.09.2017 - 30.06.2018
Expenditure of time: The time required depends on the historic technique chosen and the execution of one’s textile.

Project objective

Ancient textiles – Modern Hands aims to engage the broader public with academic textile research and, in addition, to implement the highly valuable practical expertise of professional and leisure practitioners as well as textile artists in historic textile research. The initiative represents an expansion to the research project “Texts and Textiles in Late Antique Egypt” funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF that studies the production methods with its highly differentiated textile terminology in the rich papyrological evidence of Late Antique Egypt (c. 300–800 CE).

This citizen-science project seeks for the first time to explore a new approach in addition to academic text- and material-based scholarship, that is to say, to consider and employ valuable practical expertise which is at the edge of being lost today. Initially, it is inspired by a unique papyrus drawing with a spiral pattern which is translated into the medium of cloth using historic textile techniques. The experience and results gained in the entire production process are significant for our understanding of textile production that constituted an essential economic branch in Antiquity.

How to participate?

Citizen scientists can register on the website The time required depends on the chosen technique, the execution and the experience of the individual participants. The exact recording of this is one of the research questions to be investigated in this project. All data relating to the manufacturing process are collected in the survey on the website Ideas, questions and suggestions can be exchanged with other participants via the discussion group

What happens to the contributions of the citizen scientists?

The data recorded in the survey will be evaluated in Vienna and Ann Arbor and presented in various conferences and lectures of different fields and different audiences. The results will be considered in the main research project “Texts and Textiles in Late Antique Egypt”.

The submitted samples will be displayed in a travelling exhibition with venues in Europe and North America. Moreover, an online-gallery was created to display all works. A schedule of the travelling exhibition is also available on the website

Participating and supporting institutions


Ines Bogensperger

Project website:

Press release: "Wie passt das zusammen?" (APA Science, 11.06.2018)

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