/ Congress Archive

The CIETA Congress

Excavations and Discoveries

Conventions where we meet in person to discuss research and objects and also visit textile collections together have always been part of the CIETA’s activities. Every other year, the CIETA invites its members to an international congress defined by a general theme. The congresses are held in different cities, usually in the end of September or the beginning of October. Over three days, papers introduce the participants to ongoing projects, the results of cutting edge research, important collections and individual textile objects. Visits and gallery talks complement the programme, and on an additional excursion day the participants are invited to museums and treasuries in the area.

Recent congresses have been held in:

  • 2019 – Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld: “Dyestuffs and Colours in Textiles – Materiality and Significance”
  • 2017 – The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg: “Power, Rank and Status – Textiles and Representation”
  • 2015 – Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin: “Textiles in Transfer and Transformation“
  • 2013 – Musées des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs, Lyon “The History of Textile Collections and Textile Research”
  • 2011 – The National Museum, Copenhagen: “Cultural Encounters in Textiles and Costume between Northern Europe and the World”
  • 2009 – Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels: “Textiles in Trade (woven textiles, lace, tapestries…)”

The 29th CIETA congress, originally planned for 2021 and postponed because of the pandemic, will be held from 3 to 6 October 2022 at the National Museum, Zurich (Switzerland).

Registration for the congress has officially ended. With urgent questions concerning registration please contact the President (president@cieta.fr).

Around the globe, textiles discovered in the course of archaeological excavations have contributed to our knowledge of techniques, the use of ornament, practices of clothing and adornment, and of rituals and beliefs. Ever since research on historical textiles began, finds from archaeological sites have met with particular interest, not least because they often came with a specific context, providing additional information and allowing for far-reaching insights. They have also inspired artists and designers to create contemporary works relating to the past.

There is of course a far wider field beyond archaeological finds that gives us the opportunity to understand when and how fabrics and textile objects were created and used. Discoveries were also made in church sacristies, archives, households and in private and public collections. Occasionally, a researcher’s previous experience or knowledge of related artefacts became a key for the identification or understanding of an object thus considered. Discoveries can also lead to or include new approaches and methods that, in their turn, could spur further research or provide clues to solve old riddles. Of course, the exchange with fellow researchers also is of great importance – which is why we invite you to share your discoveries, consider questions and weigh insights, and contribute to an ongoing discussion underlining the importance and relevance of research into historical textiles today.


Congress Programme

A Call for papers inviting the CIETA members to send in proposals relating to the general theme was published in autumn 2020. We thank all members who submitted proposals and the members of the Vetting Committee who considered them. The members of this committee also helped in creating a preliminary programme. We were sorry that, due to the pandemic and the rules banning or limiting long-distance travel and indoor meetings, the congress could not be held in 2021. We are very grateful to the National Museum, Zurich (Switzerland) and its director Denise Tonella for agreeing to host the event in the autumn of 2022.

We now thank all speakers originally invited who agreed to participate in the congress this year. We will be delighted to meet you all in person and enjoy presentations, discussions, visits and excursions, and days of lively exchange!


Congress Programme (229.34 KB)
Excursion Programme (153.93 KB)