Flavia Carraro


My research work lies in anthropology of technology and science, cultural technology, linguistic anthropology and anthropology of knowledge, and the principal objects of my investigation are writing and weaving.

I am especially interested in the relation between material culture and symbolic forms as it can be explored through the intellectual and material technologies of writing and weaving from ancient times until modern innovations. In particular, my research addresses the code and coding/decoding practices of both signs and threads in an anthropological and epistemological perspective.

In the framework of the PENELOPE project, I will focus on the tacit knowledge and on the implicit activities inscribed in the weaving structures and in the weaver as well as in the loom making in ancient and living traditions. Between fundamental and applied research and through ethnographic fieldwork and anthropological analysis, my work aims, on one hand, to deepen the relation between anthropological and epistemological aspects of the weaving thought and practices in ancient Greece; on the other, to conduct a comparative analysis with regard to the models as well as the variations of the threads interlacing over space and time.

This study furthers my previous doctoral and postdoctoral research works.

In my PhD – “Mycenologists and Mycenaeans. Drawing, writing, reading and discovering linear B” (University of Paris 8 and Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale LAS – Paris, 2010) – I have explored the scholarly reconstruction of the Mycenaean writing and language from the bronze age across archaeology, history, linguistics, philology and cryptanalysis.

In the research project “The decipherment paradigm”, mainly conducted as visiting scholar and researcher at PASP –  Department of Classics of  the University of Texas at Austin (2014), I deepened the issue of code and deciphering methods. In particular, starting from the study of decipherers’ archives – correspondence, work notes and sketches – I questioned the western model and the alphabetic matrix at work in archaeological and cryptanalytical decipherments.

My research project “Textile Studies between knowledge and knowhow”, funded by the Marie Curie Fellowship IEF 2013 at the University of Copenhagen and DNRF’s CTR (2014-2016), focused on the epistemic relationship between the disciplines involved and the different methods implemented into the study of archaeological textiles. The project has consisted in an ethnographic investigation among and with ancient textile experts – weavers and technicians, conservators, scholars in natural sciences and humanities – and addressed the issue of the relationship between interpretation, experience and experimentation in the hybrid field of archaeological textile studies.

In the framework of this project I conducted fieldwork research at the Laboratory of technical and functional analysis of pre and protohistoric artefacts of the University of Rome Sapienza and Museo delle Origini (2016), on the specific feature of the ancient textile techniques and technologies reconstruction in the light of the experimental methods at work in ceramic and lithic technologies.

Since 2015 I am working on traditional and hand loom weaving in the region of the Abruzzi (Campotosto, L’Aquila) and on mechanical and power loom weaving in Italy and in France.


You can find further information about my background and work on the webpage of the Deutsches Museum.


My recent publications are: 

G.Anichini, F.Carraro, Ph. Geslin, G.Guille-Escuret, Technicity vs scientificity. Complementarities and rivalries,  ISTE, London (2017).

F.Carraro, “Archaeological textiles: knowledge and knowhow. An ethnographic exploration of a high-density nano world”, Jacquard 78, Fondazione arte della seta Lisio, Florence (2017); pp. 14-25.