Plants can be processed from their natural state to provide fibres. Sometimes other preparations, such as the retting process, are needed to make them more maleable and suitable for their intended purpose.

Processing plant materials to make cordage and other organic objects

From materials to material culture 

Dr Linda Hurcombe

Functional data can lead to a better appreciation of cultural factors. Dr Linda Hurcombe's researching on the kinds of tasks stone tools might have been used to perform has lead to a much wider interest in materials and their transformation into material culture. Recent work has focused attention on plant craft activities as a neglected sphere of material culture and resource exploitation.

Hurcombe, L. 1994: 'From functional interpretation to cultural choices in tool use' in N. Ashton and A. David (eds) Stories in Stone. Lithic Studies Society Occasional Paper 4, London: British Museum.p.145-155.

Hurcombe, L. 1994: (published 1998) 'Plant-working and craft activities as a potential source of microwear variation'. Helinium 34(2):201-209.

Hurcombe, L. 2000: 'Plants as the raw materials for crafts' in A. Fairburn (ed) Plants in Neolithic Britain and Beyond. Oxford; Oxbow.