Die vorliegende Arbeit umfasst eine Studie von Spinnwirteln, mit dem Ziel Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten in der Entwicklung der Spinnwirtel zu dokumentieren. Die untersuchten Wirtel stammen aus 20 Fundstätten in Westasien und datieren vom 7. bis zum 3. Jt. v.u.Z. Die Wahl des Zeitraumes und der Fundstätten ergab sich aus der Fragestellung, ob sich die Hypothese einer „Textilen Revolution“ (nach Sherratt 1980/ McCorriston 1997) in den gesammelten Daten zu den Spinnwirteln niederschlagen würden. Zudem wurde in dieser Arbeit der Fokus auf die Aufnahme des Wirtelgewichtes in die Dokumentation dieser Fundgruppe gelegt, sowie eine statistische Analyse der funktionalen Parameter der Wirtel durchgeführt.
The present work is a study of spindle whorls, aiming to document the continuities and discontinuities in whorl development. The whorls are collected from 20 sites in Western Asia dating to the 7th to 3rd Millennia BCE. Former studies on these kinds of objects usually refer to material from one or two sites. A supraregional and diachronic overview on the material is however missing so far. The present study aims to fill this gap by providing important data on spindle whorl variability based on their measurements and in particular weight values. It presents an analysis of the mentioned functional data and puts forward interpretations on raw material identification. Taking into account the very light weight of pottery neolithic spindle whorls, I assume they might have been used for the production of yarn from short stapled wool of primitive sheep and goat breeds. The high standardization of weights of these early whorls could reflect a production of high quantities of uniform yarn for the manufacture of woven textiles. The first evidence for tabby weave, which could hint towards a mechanical or semi mechanical loom construction, occur contemporary to these high amounts of spindle whorls. The level of standardization of spindle whorl weight continues into the 5th Millennium BCE. From the 4th Millennium onward an increase of weight variability is noted, with higher numbers of heavy whorls. A direct correlation of this increase with the processing of longer stapled wool seems an obvious conclusion. The changes however do not seem to be of lasting nature. In opposite, the overall compared data point towards a return to the before observed standards. The survey of spindle whorls provides a substantial data reference within the investigated regions. This dataset enables assumptions about certain sites being specialized in certain parts of the textile production known in the area (Tall-i Bakun). In addition, it provides concrete reference for textile tool studies beyond the investigated area and time span. However, the investigation of single sites offers independent results, like the indications on the seasonality of textile production derived from the Sharafabad material or the indications of changes in production intensities from one phase to another like in Tell Sabi Abyad. The results of my research suggest that it is probable that the short stapled wool of primitive sheep and goat breeds was used in parts of Western Asia at least from the end of the 7th Millennium BCE onward. The development from the initial phase to the intense use of wool in the 3rd Millennium BCE is however neither linear nor revolutionary. It seems to be a regionally distinct and gradual process with strong evidences for local continuities and discontinuities.