Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 2-1 (May 2010)Chrystel R. Brandenburgh: Early medieval textile remains from settlements in the Netherlands. An evaluation of textile production
2 Research question, data and methods
2.3 Methods
2.3.2 Chaîne opératoire

An important research question concerns differentiating domestic craftsmanship from production for a textile market via the analysis of textiles. A useful tool in this regard is the concept of chaîne opératoire, or operational sequence, which considers a production process as a sequence of (interrelated) actions influenced by technical possibilities and personal and cultural choices (Skibo & Schiffer 2008). This implies a study of the individual steps in the process of textile production, which makes it possible to evaluate every action and to discern the general mode of production. In each step one can ask whether producers had access to the same materials, skills and tools in the making of the final product. Although this is a somewhat technical approach, it is useful for possibly distinguishing ordinary textiles from specialized products made by people with specific skills or tools.