Saturday, August 05, 2006


We had a day trip today to Chedworth Roman Villa. It was just a spur of the moment idea, but when we got there it turned out that there was a Romano-British/ Dark Ages craft demonstration on. Actually, most of the tents were closed up - I don't know whether they were just there for show or whether it was lunch time for the re-enactors ;)

Earlier that morning, by chance, I had done a teeny bit of spindling. I'll have to take a photo of my spindle at some point. At the museum villa they had some examples of spindle whorls from the Roman period found at the villa:

The massive stone ring on the right isn't a huge whorl, it's a loom weight. I'm quite interested in how the weighted looms work (following a conversation with another re-enactor in a castle in Wales which I'll blog about later who didn't appear to think that looms were invented until the industrial period!???). And just my luck - it appeared that there was a weaving tent at the villa!

So we wandered over and saw a working forge, which was fun, and then over to the weavers. There was a weighted loom set up, and a dye-pot bubbling over a fire, but both were unattended. There were two women sat spindling, and two girls plaiting their hair. I wanted to talk to them about the loom and the spinning, but don't think they were in the mood. It took ages for me to catch their attention to ask a question (about whether there were any top whorl spindles), but the answer was a brief 'not this period' sort of thing.

I just gave up at that point and left - irritatingly I even forgot to take photos of the loom. I'm just kicking myself for being cowed so easily: I should've asked more questions! It was just hard when they were all talking amongst themselves... Ah well, I'm a knitter, a wheel spinner and a top whorl spindler - totally the wrong period - even I am doing a post-graduate degree in Classics ;)



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