Color photograph of Kevin Ennis, wearing a blue sweater and sitting in an outdoor location with green plants behind him

Kevin Ennis

Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Helen M. Woodruff/Archaeological Institute of America Rome Prize
September 6, 2021–July 22, 2022
PhD Candidate, Department of Classics, Stanford University
Project title
Towards an Economic History of Women’s Work: The Archaeology of Weaving in Sicily from Prehistory to the Republic
Project description

My project examines the diachronic development of the household textile industry in Sicily in order to foreground the vital roles women played in systems of production and consumption in antiquity. I track the evolution of this industry from prehistory to the Republic, focusing primarily on material from Morgantina. The site was central to historical developments in Sicily and offers exceptional evidence for textile production in the form of loom weights and spindle whorls uncovered in excavations spanning sixty years. I use this legacy material to investigate important economic questions, including whether specialized labor emerged, which other productive activities occurred alongside weaving, and whether the industry impacted other types of production. In doing so, I provide a fuller understanding of the organization of women’s household labor and incorporate it into broader economic histories of antiquity, which often fail to consider the critical contributions of women to the ancient economy.