Clothing around 7,000 BC

The Globe




Southwest Asia




Indus Valley

Like other early agriculturalists around the world, the early farming peoples of southern Asia solved the problem of clothing by domesticating a plant for fiber, specifically, cotton. Just as linen and wool were the staple textiles in Egypt and Mesopotamia, respectively cotton became the primary source of cloth for South Asia—as it did in Peru and elsewhere. Textiles are by no means the invention only of agriculturalists, however: various hunter-foragers around the world wove natural plant fibers into clothing. The growing populations of early farming cultures, however, and the need for seasonally adaptable and cheap clothing seems to have resulted in the domestication of a plant that could be grown intensively and easily converted to textiles. Cotton was probably domesticated in several areas of southern Asia between about 7000 and 5000 BC, but the evidence of precisely when and where this occurred unclear. (Patterns in Prehistory)




Dr. Barber said twining produced a more stable weave because the weft threads twisted around each other and prevented sliding. "When you see them switching from twining over to the true weave or plain weave by around 7000 BC, then they've figured out mechanization," she said. "They've given up stability of weave for speed of production." (83)

South America




North America

Between 9,000 and 2,500 years ago Desert West cultures worked out a marvelous array of subsistence technologies and strategies, and the aridity of the environment has preserved artifacts so well that we can reconstruct their way of life in considerable detail. Scraps of fur clothing have been found, as well as moccasins and woven sandals. (Patterns in Prehistory)

A human mummy found in Spirit Cave, Nevada, recently dated with the most advanced radiocarbon dating methods, was found to be a surprisinbg 9400 years old. This man was buried wearing moccasins and was wrapped in a shroud of neatly woven marsh plants. So expert was the weaving (a method known as "diamond plating") that it appears these people had already mastered the use of looms. (Patterns in Prehistory)