Just read a fascinating article describing the discovery of ancient, twisted, wild flax fibers, embedded in soil samples taken from the Dzudzuana Cave in the Republic of Georgia.
Carbon dating places the habitation of the cave to the Upper Paleolithic period (32,000 to 11,000 years ago). The evidence, microscopic though it may be, suggests that the invention of twisted fiber cordage or twine dates from this early era. Cord remnants dating from 19,000 to 17,000 years ago were previously discovered in Lascaux, France, and at the Ohalo site in Israel, but the fibers used to make the twine are still unidentified. The Dzudzuana flax fibers also contain knots and traces of color, suggesting that dyeing might also have been practiced, though it is equally possible that the color was absorbed simply from contact with mineral sources. Representations of woven cloth appear on figurines of the time.
It’s intriguing to picture Stone Age people wearing turquoise and pink linen! But whatever the truth of that matter, the craft that we now refer to as spinning appears to have developed long before anyone thought.
Photos of the flax fibers
and the full article.