Bast fibre

Prehistoric Fibres, Writing up Results

Today I’m writing up the results of research into tree bast and flax fibres. These fibres were common during the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Europe. I am interested in them through my research into prehistoric textiles and basketry.


Since I found out about tree bast fibres, I’ve been curious as how you get fibres from trees and what they’re like. They come from the inner bark of species such as lime, oak, poplar, elm and willow. Over the years I’ve learnt how to extract the fibres and process them so they can be spun into thread. It’s exciting making string from part of a tree!


Beyond processing, I want to find out the properties of these fibres. For this I work with material scientists at Manchester University. Today I’m surrounded by books and papers that I need to write up our research. I also have the graphs of our results on my computer screen.

I’m a Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Some of my papers can be downloaded here. There is a list of my publications and contact details here. If you have any questions, get in touch.