Loomweights


Yesterday we found a row of loomweights at Khirbet Summeily. They are round, unfired clay balls with a hole in the center. Loomweights were used to stretch the warp during the process of weaving and easily allow the threads to be moved so that the weft could be woven through them. Throughout the ancient world we find loomweights of different shapes. They are very common throughout ancient Judah. In Judah they were always round with the hole in the center. In other places loomweights were more oblong and the hole was often near the top. People at different times and places did things differently.

As loomweights are normally extremely brittle, cautious work is required to expose them and remove them whole. Here even dental picks are used and small brushes are required. Loomweights are often an indication to archaeologists that a floor is not far away, as many loomweights have been found lying on floors. Only in recent years has there been an effort to understand the practice of weaving in Iron Age Judah more accurately. By comparison with other traditional weaving techniques researchers have been trying to find out how the loomweights might have been used and what fabrics could have been woven.

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