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Wrong Olga Soffer?

Dr. Olga Soffer

Professor of Anthropology

University of Illinois

HQ Phone: (217) 333-1000

Email: o***@***.edu

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University of Illinois

1406 W. Green Street

Urbana, Illinois 61801

United States

Company Description

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (U of I, University of Illinois, UIUC, or simply Illinois) is a public research-intensive university in the U.S. state of Illinois. A land-grant university, it is the flagship campus of the University of Illi ... more

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Background Information

Employment History

The Paleoanthropology Society



City University of New York


Political Science

Hunter College

Web References (56 Total References)

Rolex Awards for Enterprise : David Lordkipanidze : Project [cached]

Olga Soffer, professor at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Illinois in the United States, says that the Dmanisi project is "the most important palaeoanthropological research project around today ...

PaleoAnthropology Journal Editoral Board [cached]

Olga Soffer

University of Illinois

The Board [cached]

Olga Soffer

University of Illinois

"It all began when we discovered ... [cached]

"It all began when we discovered and studied impressions of textiles and basketry and nets on little pieces of hard clay," explains Olga Soffer, an archeologist at the University of Illinois.

Soffer then compared the clay pieces to the so-called "Venus" figurines, which are also dated to about the same time, about 25,000 years ago. After careful study, she and her team identified fine detailing showing different weaving methods. And different items of clothing depending on which part of Europe the Venus figurines came from.
Those from western Europe were adorned with basket hats or caps, belts worn at the waist and what Soffer calls a bandeau - a strap of cloth that wrapped around the body right above the breast.
Finding the same weaving technologies depicted on the Venus women, who most probably wore them in rituals, rather than as everyday wear, also tells Soffer that women associated with weaving probably held a high position in society.
"We know from the textile impressions that the weaving can be very very fine. We know the fine weaving takes a lot of time," says Soffer. "What the Venus figurines is telling us, is that this technology of making clothes was important enough to be immortalized in stone.
A lot of us suppose that if it's important enough to be in iconography, it is very important in those societies, likely giving these women positions of status."
Soffer and her team have also found some tools made of bone and ivory of about the same age.
But Professor Olga Soffer, of the University of Illinois, is about to publish details in the journal Current Anthropology of 90 fragments of clay that have impressions from woven fibres.
Professor Soffer revealed some her findings recently when she said that a 25,000-year-old figurine was wearing a woven hat. If confirmed, her work could change our understanding of distant ancestors, the so-called Ice Age hunters of the Upper Palaeolithic Stone Age.
"Other impressions may have been caused by deliberate action, such as lining a basket with clay to make it watertight," said Professor Soffer.
A detailed examination of the impressions reveals a large variety of weaving techniques. There are open and closed twines, plain weave and nets. Professor Soffer told BBC News Online that twining can be done by hand but plain weave needed a loom.
The possibility that they made nets has fascinating implications according to Professor Soffer.

According to textile experts Elizabeth ... [cached]

According to textile experts Elizabeth Wayland Barber, or Olga Soffer of the University of Illinois, the statue displays the earliest representation found of spun thread, as the carving shows a skirt hanging from below the hips, made of twisted fibers, frayed at the end.

Soffer says: "It depicts a fiber-weaving technology that until recently we didn't know existed in the Stone Age."

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