The earliest depictions of human beings show them wearing clothes -clothing seems to be an identifying characteristic of our species. Clothing helps us adapt to different climates and weather conditions. It also sets us off from our fellows: in every culture, men and women, rich and poor, kings and commoners have all been distinguished by their apparel. Furs and textiles are fragile, so, with few -and mainly fragmentary- exceptions, nothing survives of ancient clothing. Our knowledge of what our forebears wore is derived mainly from writings, painting and sculpture.