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1 B) using polarised light microscopy and verifying the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in association with the fibres.
To ensure that the identification was done correctly a blind test was performed by testing the ancient fibre sample together with modern fibres of known origin, so that it was not known during the testing if the ancient fibre or a modern fibre was being examined.
The new results also challenge the previous assumption that textile production in the Bronze Age in Northern Europe was solely based on a local and non-specialized production.
An assumption which has been promoted, among others, by the fact that Bronze Age wool clothing in Scandinavia has a homogenous, visual appearance and style embedded in an established agriculture and breeding tradition of every community and farmstead with local craft tradition.
It is generally assumed that the production of plant fibre textiles in ancient Europe, especially woven textiles for clothing, was closely linked to the development of agriculture through the use of cultivated textile plants (flax, hemp).
Here we present a new investigation of the 2800 year old Lusehøj Bronze Age Textile from Voldtofte, Denmark, which challenges this assumption.
The sample has been plasma ashed to reveal the crystals.
This is further supported by the fact that the nettle fibres most likely stem from the Kärnten-Steiermark region as discussed at the end of the previous section.
This is an area where flax agriculture was known at the time, as evidenced by pollen and macrofossil plant remains.
Thus the Lusehøj find points to a hitherto unrecognized important role of nettle as a textile plant and suggests the need for a reevaluation of the organisation and resource management of textile production in prehistoric (Bronze Age) Europe.
The investigation of textile crop cultivation (flax and hemp) versus the collection of wild species (nettle) has been hampered by the fact that it is very difficult to distinguish between flax, hemp and nettle fibres.