One of the most interesting things I’ve found in cataloguing the off-print articles collected by the scientists at the Roslin Institute is the variety of areas in which animal genetics can be applied. It can range from animal breeding to cloning and from food production to the textile industry among other many other things. For example, Dr. Michael L. Ryder, a biologist and textile fibre consultant who worked at Animal Breeding Research Organization, Edinburgh in the 1960s and 1970s, wrote many interesting papers on sheep and the wool and textile industry from prehistoric times up to the late 20th century. His articles, in journals ranging from Animal Production to The Journal of the Bradford Textile Society discuss findings from historical records and biological data such as techniques for identifying the animal fibres in pre-historic cloth to studies on environmental conditions on wool fleece structures.
Some particular articles of interest by Dr. Ryder are:
- “Sheep and wool in history”, Journal of the Bradford Textile Society, 1962-1963, p. 29-43 (GB 237 Coll-1362/1/159);
- “A late Bronze Age find from Pyotdykes, Angus, Scotland, with associated gold, cloth, leather and wool remains”, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society Vol. XXX, 1964, p. 186-198. (GB 237 Coll-1362/1/169)
- “Sheep and the Clearances in the Scottish Highlands : a biologist’s view” Agricultural History Review, British Agricultural History Society, Vol. 16, Part 2, 1968, p. 155-158. (GB 237 Coll-1362/1/284)
Once they’re made available to researchers, these articles will provide a fascinating insight on the history of woollen textiles!