CfP: Hemp: from field to thread. Practices, know-how and movements from protohistory to the 21st century (Event, 11/2020, Mans); by: 30.05.2020

Delphine Barbier-Pain (INRAP-CReAAH), Aline Durand (Univ. du Mans-CReAAH), Sophie Laligant (Univ. de Tours-CITERES) and Aurélie Reinbold (Docteur Univ. de Rennes II) (Web)

Time: 25.–27.11.2020
Venue: Université du Mans, France
Proposals by: 30.05.2020

Numerous hemp kilns abandoned in the countryside, particularly in western France, remind us of the importance of hemp canvas production during modern and contemporary times. Today, our society is re-discovering this plant which appears to be of interest to make agriculture more environment-friendly. Despite this glorious economic past, the history of hemp as a textile crop has yet to be written. Neither in written sources nor in archaeological sources does hemp weigh the true weight it had in the economy of ancient societies.

This is due to (i) the relative scarcity of wet archaeological sites that guarantee the good conservation of organic remains, and (ii) the paucity of developments on these issues in the scholarly literature and in diplomatic and administrative registers up to the end of the medieval period. To remedy this limitation, an interdisciplinary approach between Humanities and biological sciences is necessary to cross historical, archaeological, ethnological and bioarchaeological tools and data and to write the intertwined history of men and hemp.

The conference aims to strengthen the synergies among the many disciplines that aim to investigate textile hemp through its production upstream of the final canvas diachronically over the Protohistory – 21st century period. This event is an opportunity to take stock of the current state of the scientific knowledge and methodologies used to characterize the presence of this plant and the way it is exploited.

Three sessions will be organized on the following themes:

  • Hem cultivation: fields, locations, techniques, myths and folklore associated with it.
  • Plant processing and waste treatment (processing line, retting, drying, scutching, transformation, waste disposal).
  • Movement of goods and knowledge (movement of seeds, fibers, thread, waste, knowledge, local and international trade). Read more, french version and source … (Web)