Spinning Wool

These clay spindle whorls serve a similar purpose to some of the more modern “drop” spindles that you may (or may not) have seen before. The weight creates tension on the wool, which expands into yarn as it spins.

The Letters of Iltani to Aqba-hammu

This true story of ancient Babylon informs what we know of textile work in the ancient world. Under the rule of Hammurapi, Iltani and her husband write to one another about the ongoings at Iltani’s textile factory. The letters describe the trade of wool between Iltani and her suppliers (one of whom was her husband, Aqba-hammu), and between Iltani as a supplier for women and their factories in neighboring towns. These letters also give insight into the importance of textiles as part of a wider network of trade and gift-giving. In letter 70, Aqba-hammu sends home for more textiles to add to his tribute to Babylon, and later sends for some garments to either give or sell along his travels.


Here are some excellent example of Roman oil lamps which are included in the Bridges collection. As is seen below, these lamps came in different forms, though the basic anatomy is displayed to the left. The wick was most likely made of linen and would have protruded from the nozzle.

Olive oil was most likely the type of oil used to fuel these lamps in the Mediterranean.

Further Reading

Dalley, Stephanie. “Old Babylonian Trade in Textiles at Tell Al Rimah.” Iraq 39, no. 2 (1977): 155-59. doi:10.2307/4200062.