Archaeologists in England just unearthed a 3,000-year-old—and extremely fragile—ball of yarn. Buried in the waterlogged depths of the Must Farm Bronze Age settlement, a site in Cambridgeshire that has been described as the “Pompeii of the fens,” the artifact is one of a rich cache of finds that includes textiles, beads, and domestic tools.
Like other fibers discovered at the location, the yarn is probably plant-based in origin. “All the textiles appear to have been made from plant fibers,” said Margarita Gleba, an archaeologist specializing in textiles. “The people at Must Farm used cultivated species, such as flax, as well as wild plants, such as nettle and perhaps trees, to obtain raw materials.” Not to mention folks back then really knew their stuff, too.
“The linen textiles found at Must Farm are among the finest from Bronze Age Europe,” Gleba added. “Wild fibers appear to have been used for coarser fabrics made in a different technique, known as twining.”