Is Shirlastain a reliable tool in the identification of archaeological textiles?
Deandra de Looff, a student of the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University, is researching how Shirlastain can be used in archaeological research. The research is carried out in order to ascertain whether the use of Shirlastain (a chemical substance, commercially available, the exact composition of which is kept a secret) could possibly be a fast, basic and reliable identification tool for different types of fibers, such as wool, flax and hemp. The research consists of making replicas of historical textiles, using ancient spinning, weaving and dyeing techniques, and subsequently using a microscope to study whether Shirlastain can still identify the different fibers after their processing. The research is part of an internship at the TRC.
TRC in a nutshell
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