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Prehistoric Costume

-- The first known humans to make clothing, Neanderthal man, survived from
about 200,000 B.C.E. to about 30,000 B.C.E. During this time the earth's
temperature rose and fell dramatically, creating a series of ice ages throughout
the northern areas of Europe and Asia where Neanderthal man lived. With their
compact, muscular bodies that conserved body heat, Neanderthals were well
adapted to the cold climate of their day. But it was their large brain that served
them best. Neanderthal man learned to make crude but effective tools from stone.
Tools such as spears and axes made Neanderthals strong hunters, and they
hunted the hairy mammoths, bears, deer, musk oxen, and other mammals that
shared their environment. At some point, Neanderthals learned how to use the
thick, furry hides from these animals to keep themselves warm and dry. With this
discovery, clothing was born.
Evidence of the very first clothing is mostly indirect. Archeologists (scientists who
study the fossil and material remnants of past life) discovered chipped rock
scrapers that they believe were used to scrape meat from animal hides. These
date to about 100,000 B.C.E. Archeologists believe that these early humans cut the
hides into shapes they liked, making holes for the head and perhaps the arms,
and draped the furs over their bodies. Soon their methods likely grew more
sophisticated. They may have used thin strips of hide to tie the furs about
themselves, perhaps in the way that belts are used today.
Cro-Magnon man, considered the next stage in human development, emerged
around forty thousand years ago and made advances in the clothing of the
Neanderthals. The smarter Cro-Magnon people learned how to make fire and
cook food, and they developed finer, more efficient tools. Sharp awls, or pointed
tools, were used to punch small holes in animal skins.





100,000 BCE Neanderthals Wore animal skins
Early humans cut the hides into shapes they liked, making holes for the head and perhaps
the arms, and draped the furs over their bodies. They may have used thin strips of hide to
tie the furs about themselves, perhaps in the way that belts are used today. (Prehistoric
Clothing. Fashion, Costume, and Culture: Clothing, Headwear, Body Decorations, and
Footwear through the Ages. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 1: The Ancient
World. Detroit: UXL, 2004. 5-8. Gale Virtual Reference Library.)


38,000 BCE Cro-Magnon wore loincloths made of animal skins
Sharp awls, or pointed tools, were used to punch small holes in animal skins, which were
laced together. With a needle (made out of slivers of animal bone), Cro-Magnon man could
sew carefully cut pieces of fur into better fitting garments. Evidence suggests that Cro-
Magnon people developed close-fitting pants and shirts that would protect them from the
cold, as well as shawls, hoods, and long boots. (Prehistoric Life, 2004, 1-8)

7,000 BCE Mesopotamians learned to spin wool to make clothing
Mesopotamians, (dwellers of present-day Iraq near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers),
developed the ability to create pottery from clay, learned to gather and spin wool from the
sheep and goats that they herded. It was in Mesopotamia and the other great early
civilization, Egypt, where clothing other than animal skins first began to be made and worn.
(Prehistoric Life, 2004, 1-4)

Mediterranean Costume : Greece
History of types
Ancient Greek clothing consisted of lengths of linen or wool fabric, which generally was
rectangular. Clothes were secured with ornamental clasps or pins , and a belt, sash, or
girdle might secure the waist.
Men's robes went down to their knees, whereas women's went down to their ankles.

Peplos, Chitons
The inner tunic was a peplos or chiton. The peplos was a garment worn by women. It was
usually a heavier woollen garment, more distinctively Greek, with its shoulder clasps.
The upper part of the peplos was folded down to the waist to form an apoptygma.
The chitonwas a simple tunic garment of lighter linen, worn by both genders and all ages.
Men's chitons hung to the knees, whereas women's chitons fell to their ankles. Often the
chiton is shown as pleated. Either garment could be pulled up under the belt to blouse the
fabric:kolpos.
Strophion, Epiblema, Veil
A strophion was an undergarment sometimes worn by women around the mid-portion of
the body, and a shawl (epiblema) could be draped over the tunic. Women dressed
similarly in most areas of ancient Greece although in some regions, they also wore a
loose veil as well at public events and market.
Chlamys
The chlamys was made from a seamless rectangle of woolen material worn by men as a
cloak. It was about the size of a blanket, usually bordered. The chlamys was
typical Greek military attire from the 5th to the 3rd century BC. As worn by soldiers, it
could be wrapped around the arm and used as a light shield in combat.
Himation
The basic outer garment during winter was the himation, a larger cloak worn over the
peplos or chlamys. The himation has been most influential perhaps on later fashion.
Nudity and athletics
During Classical times in Greece, male nudity received a religious sanction following
profound changes in the culture. After that time, male athletes participated in ritualized
athletic competitions such as the classical version of the ancient Olympic Games, in the
nude as women became barred from the competition except as the owners of racing
chariots. Their ancient events were discontinued, one of which (a footrace for women)
had been the sole original competition. Myths relate that after this prohibition, a woman
was discovered to have won the competition while wearing the clothing of a man
instituting the policy of nudity among the competitors that prevented such embarrassment
again.