Monday, 2 November 2009

Sock It! Introduction

Text by Charlotte Booth.

This beautiful pair of socks, dated to 400-500 AD, are the centre of this experimental archaeology project at the Petrie Museum. However they are not the only socks that have been discovered, and there is another one in the Museum collection which was discovered inside out.

Examination of the socks has enabled us to identify how they were constructed. All the tools needed are found in the Petrie collection. We will be using the same tools (where possible) to create our socks over the coming months.

(The inside out sock)
In the absence of any pictorial evidence of carding of raw fleece, we have to look at what would do the job from the evidence we have. There is a large intricately decorated comb in the Coptic Museum in Cairo but for the smaller wool producer a comb such as this would be perfect.

Numerous drop spindles have been discovered in Egypt from the Middle Kingdom onwards in varying sizes for the production of different thicknesses of wool, and perhaps for children to become involved.

Hundreds of needles have been discovered and there are many in the Petrie collection, which look like any in our sewing boxes at home. It is with one of these that we will be creating our Coptic socks!


  1. Saturday was a great start to the project. A really interested and enthusiastic group, such a shame the room is not big enough for the U3A and other members to all meet up together. It was great to be able to see the original socks - even we did need the aid of a torch and I am sure having thought about all we heard and saw that we will be examining the socks in much greater detail on our next visit. Thank you Charlotte and Debbie for an excellent first day.

  2. Charlotte and Debbie...your enthusiasm is infectious, so I feel sure that our group will succeed and have a great time.
    I love the romantic gloomy atmosphere in museum, the fact that we have to use torches to see the artifacts. Somehow I felt like an early archeologist visiting a tomb searching out hidden secrets.
    Not sure about my ability to create a functional sock. As a non knitter I think I might have to be "creative"