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I’ve got a new (academic) blog post up over on Alexandra Makin’s site on Early Medieval (mostly) Textiles:

When Sewing Needles were high tech: Women and Work in the Early Middle Ages

I hope you’ll go read it for yourselves – it’s not that technical! – but to sum up, it’s about how the Indian invention of better grades of steel in antiquity made it possible to make not just steel swords but also steel sewing needles, which revolutionized the early medieval textile industry. My point is that new technology isn’t just about war and weapons, but also affects the lives of women sitting and working at home. And that women have always worked for money, since there has been money, even when they worked from home. (Read the article also to see how common it was for women to work from home and combine childcare with their work, even thousands of years ago!)