Friday, September 18, 2009

Small finds

"Consider the seemingly most obvious and most trivial of all small finds - the common straight pin and the not-so-logical syllogism about pins that one often encounters in the literature, Pins equal sewing, or so most archaeologists assume, they also assume that sewing was done by women. Therefore pins = sewing = women. But [...] common straight pins were used to fasten both men's and women's clothing, to fasten documents, to fasten shrouds, to serve as guides for threads in lace-making, to conjure spells and to ward against them; in other words pins were used for many other purposes beyond sewing. And it is sometimes possible to differentiate what these purposes might have been, since pins were were made in different sizes because different sizes were needed for the diverse purposes I've mentioned. But because we think we 'know' what pins mean, we do not pay them much attention."

Mary C. Beaudry (2006), Findings: the material culture of needlework and sewing, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, p.8


Post a Comment

<< Home