Loom weights are an essential part of a warp-weighted loom. In preparation for weaving, rows of loom weights are tied to bundles of warp threads in order to keep the necessary tension. Without such tension a very uneven, possibly useless piece of cloth will be produced. Loom weights used in this way also help to keep the warp threads from becoming tangled and out of order.
The weights, all of approximately the same weight for an even, consistent tension, hang at the bottom of the warp-weighted loom and keep the warp threads taut. When the weaving is finished, the weights are usually cut off, leaving a fringe of warps threads. Such a fringe is seen on the bottom of a Mycenaean warrior‘s tunic painted on the “Warrior Vase” (number 1426), made circa 1200 BCE, in the National Museum of Athens.
The loom weights can be re-used. Loom weights have been found as far back as the Neolithic in Europe, the Aegean area and the Near East. They have been found, for example, at the Neolithic site of Catal Huyuk, in ancient Anatolia (modern Turkey), which dates to 7000 BCE.