What Did Prehistoric People Wear?

It is not known for sure when humans began wearing clothes but there is evidence that suggest that we may have begun wearing clothing as far back as 100,000 to 500,000 years ago. Archeologists found objects that look like handmade sewing needles that have been dated to around 40,000 years ago. The first needles that we are sure that are needles belonged to the Solutrean culture which existed in France from 19,000 BC to 15,000 BC. Evidence of dyed flax fibers date back to 36,000 BC and were found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia. The first evidence of weaving was found in Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic in the form of impressions of textiles and basketry and nets on pieces of clay and is 27,000 years old. Venus figurines, from some 25,000 years ago, from Western Europe are decorated with basket hats or caps, belts and a strap of cloth. Venus figurines from Eastern Europe wore belts and string skirts. Net gauges, spindle needles and weaving sticks are also found by archeologists and are believed that they were also used in the making of textiles.

Prehistoric Fiber

The first known humans to make clothes were Neanderthals who, at some point in history, learned how to use the hides of the animals they hunted to keep themselves warm and dry. There is also possibility that first clothes had primarily other purposes such as magic, decoration, cult or prestige, and later found to be practical as well. Cro-Magnon man, who came after Neanderthal, improved clothes by using sharp awls, pointed tools and needles made out of slivers of animal bone with point at one end and an eye at the other. He punched small holes in hides and then simply laced them with sinew and other types of cordage that could be found in nature. One of the first simpler clothes was tunic which was first made from two pieces of rectangular animal hide laced together on one side with a hole left for the head in the middle. Arms went through the open sides and the tunic was closed with a belt.

The best example of a complete set of prehistoric clothes is that found on Ötzi the Iceman found in the Alps in 1991, which is 5300 years old. His clothing and equipment were made from hides, bones, antlers and feathers of six different animal species and the leaves, wood and fiber of 17 different trees. His upper clothing was tied with a belt. His legs were covered with two separate leather stocking-like leggings which were made of several pieces of goat hide and attached to his belt. Shoes that he had were made of animal skins like brown bear hide, deer leather and calf leather and filled with hay. Coat that he wore was made of strips of goat skin that were sewed on the inside with thread made of animal sinews. On his head was 20cm tall hat made of bear fur which had leather chin straps. Cape that was on his back was made of long stalks grass.