Elizabeth Wayland Barber

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Elizabeth Jane Wayland Barber (also E. J. W. Barber) is an American author and expert on textiles, as well as Professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College.[1]

Early life[edit]

Wayland Barber earned a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in archaeology in 1963, and she earned her PhD from Yale University in linguistics in 1968.[2][3]


Her books include Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with Special Reference to the Aegean (1992), Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years; Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times (1995), The Mummies of Ürümchi (1999), When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth (2004, coauthor with Paul T. Barber) and The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance (2013).[1][4][5][6]

Among other things, she has proposed that if 19th-century scientists had thought to name prehistorical periods with an eye on women’s work and the things they invented, instead of focusing their naming only on men’s more durable inventions (Iron Age, Bronze Age, etc.), that they might have acknowledged women's invention of string as what she has named “The String Revolution.”[7]

Personal life[edit]

In addition to her academic work, as of 2009 she has directed and choreographed for her own folk and historical dance troupe for 38 years.[8]

In 2016 and 2017 Dr. Barber's dance troupe performed at UCLA (See Video), Occidental College, and 2017 Sunshine Statewide Folk Dance Festival.


  1. ^ a b "Elizabeth Wayland Barber | W. W. Norton & Company". Books.wwnorton.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Wayland Barber | New York Review Books". Nybooks.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  3. ^ "Bryn Mawr College: Greek, Latin & Classical Studies". Brynmawr.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Wayland Barber: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  5. ^ "The Dancing Goddesses | W. W. Norton & Company". Books.wwnorton.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  6. ^ "When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth (9780691127743): Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Paul T. Barber: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  7. ^ "Clio Talks Back - International Museum of Women". Imow.org. 2009-11-08. Archived from the original on 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  8. ^ "Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies: St. Mary's College of Maryland". Smcm.edu. 2012-03-23. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2012-08-31.

External links[edit]