Women Do Archaeology: Women, cloth, looms, and power in the Viking and Medieval North Atlantic

Dr. Michèle Hayeur Smith

When cloth became the basic unit of currency in the medieval Icelandic economy, women–the sole weavers in Norse society–found themselves literally weaving money on their warp-weighted looms. These textiles are an abundant, rich, and diverse archaeological source for learning about women in the past. In this talk, Michele Hayeur Smith will discuss how cloth became currency and will demonstrate weaving on a Neolithic-style loom. Based on her work in experimental archaeology, she will explain how the most expensive cloth, pile woven cloth, emulated animal pelts and led to modern visions of “hairy Vikings.”

Michèle Hayeur Smith is an anthropological archaeologist working predominantly in the Norse colonies of the North Atlantic regions on issues of gender, identity, ethnicity, and cultural contact, which she is examining through a focus on material culture, textiles, dress, and the body. She is currently a Research Associate at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, where her projects focus on the roles of men and women in Norse societies of the North Atlantic, the structure of Viking Age and medieval textile production in that region, the role of textiles and women in international trade, and creative approaches developed by women as sustainable responses to climate change during the Little Ice Age in the North Atlantic.

Celebrate Rhode Island’s Archaeology Month with the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology! Inspired by 2020’s centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment, we’re highlighting the work of women archaeologists and anthropologists affiliated with the Museum.Women Do Archaeology PART 3: 
Dr. Michèle Hayeur Smith | Women, Cloth, Looms, and Power in the Viking North Atlantic  REGISTER: https://brown.zoom.us/…/tJwtceyvqjwvHt3cNPzxjVQklnEu6kR…
This event is free and open to the public. Supported by generous donors to Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum.

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