Category Archives: Clothing

Clothes Make the (Ancient) Man

“Good clothes,”  wrote Thomas Fuller in 1732  in his book of proverbs, Gnomologia,  “open all doors.” The British physician was  almost certainly thinking of the importance of a spiffy tailcoat and breeches and a dressy lace shirt when trying to make friends among the wealthy and titled in 18th century England. But Fuller’s proverb could apply to early hominins as well:  with the right clothing, our ancestors could survive winter cold and colonize increasingly hostile environments  in Eurasia.

All this of course begs a question,  or rather two.  Who were the first clothes horses?  And when did our mania for fashion begin?  Archaeologists have never had much clear evidence to go on,  for pieces of hide clothing or textiles tend to rot rapidly in the ground.    But new research presented last week at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists sheds new light on the matter,  by looking at an unlikely source of information: the human body louse. Read more…