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Cotton in the Old World : Domestication, cultivation, uses and exchange

Revue d’Ethnoécologie [En ligne], 15 | 2019, mis en ligne le 30 juin 2019

Sous la direction de Charlène Bouchaud et Elsa Yvanez

Today, cotton (Gossypium sp.) is an eloquent symbol of modern globalisation, conjuring images of both a soft material dominating the textile market and social and environmental disasters of global magnitude. Its internationalisation however is not the result of a recent process: the history of cotton and its four domesticated species shows one of the most outstanding examples of the circulation of knowledge, goods and people. Cotton is therefore a perfect case study for Global History, requiring the meeting of different points of view. With this aim in mind, the present volume brings together studies presented during a conference organised in 2017 at the Museum of Natural History in Paris ( Contributing scholars come from different scientific fields, such as genetic, history, archaeology, archaeobotany, textile studies, anthropology, and linguistics, but all share a common interest in cotton. The papers offer an overview of the available knowledge on the domestication, emergence and diffusion of the cotton plant and its various products – fibres, seeds, oil, and textiles– in the Old World, from Asia to Africa, over the last three millennia.

– Charlène Bouchaud, Elsa Yvanez et John Peter Wild
Tightening the thread from seed to cloth. New enquiries in the archaeology of Old World cotton – A case for inter-disciplinarity
– Christopher Viot
Domestication and varietal diversification of Old World cultivated cottons (Gossypium sp.) in the Antiquity
– Louise Quillien
Dissemination and price of cotton in Mesopotamia during the 1st millennium BCE
– Elsa Yvanez et Magdalena M. Wozniak
 Cotton in ancient Sudan and NubiaArchaeological sources and historical implications
– Fleur Letellier-Willemin
Cotton at el-Deir. First observations on a new textile fibre in the Kharga oasis (Egyptian Western desert, 5th century BCE-5th century CE)

– Orit Shamir
Cotton textiles from the Byzantine period to the Medieval period in ancient Palestine

– Jean-Charles Ducène
The cultivation and uses of cotton in medieval Arab sources

– Lucie Smolderen
Seeds, fibres and bobbins. Memoirs of a textile craft in Dendi, North Benin

– Christian Seignobos
From traditional to colonial cotton: the coup de force of progress in North Cameroon