The scientific analysis of textiles gives us far-reaching information about the quality and processing of raw materials and, above all, about their origin. At the Curt Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometry various optical instruments are available for the analysis of the construction of threads and fabrics, including reflected and transmitted light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Radiocarbon dating, investigation of provenance by isotope analysis or the determination of composition and manufacturing techniques of metal threads can also be conducted. Through these techniques we offer non-destructive or minimally-invasive characterization of art and cultural heritage.
Collected data are not only evaluated with the goal to improve scientific methods, but also they are important to the accurate reconstruction of textile production and trade. This is of particular interest to archaeological textiles, because these data allow the inference of the mobility of goods understood at the micro-level.