I think that this could also be subtitled "My love-hate relationship with Herringbone cloth".
In my Textiles and Dress Class, I discuss what types of cloth are the most common in the Viking Age and talk bit about tracking down modern textiles that, even if not perfect, are good options for reenactment. Another item I touch on in that class is making good choices. We all love the rare graves, and unique items, but one kit made of 20 different unique pieces steps away from being a good historic representation of a time. An easy way to start building a better kit is in your cloth choices, and one can consider weave structure, threadcount, and color when making those choices.
For me personally, I lean towards the most common weaves (tabby and twill), whenever possible. I will add an element such as broken diamond twill to my kit for a very high status persona, but would not add broken diamond twill, herringbone cloth, a silk band, tablet weaving, and possements all to one costume because it would be showing too much that was rare in period all at once. My love-hate relationship with herringbone reflects the fact that I find the weave attracted, but I am often frustrated when it tends to be more readily available in the weights I want than the more historically common twill and tabby. (And this is additionally frustrating when the herringbone cloth is two tone, which is also something less common in period.)
I turned the data from Lise Bender Jørgense's book Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles, as well as some additional works, into charts to help illustrate how common (or not) weaves were in various areas.
Denmark - 9th Century
Jørgensen's work on the textiles of Denmark covers graves, excluding Hedeby, and is nicely broken down into two centuries. One issue with this work that it only covers weave structure in the synopsis, and for me to break it down between linen and wool, I would have to reference back to collect that data. Further, some of the data here is provided by textile pseudomorphs, which only show us the weave structure and leave no cloth to analyze. It is likely that some amount (even a good amount, according to the author) of the tabby shown here is linen. It is also possible that some of the tabby weave represents a type of fine, open weave wool that was used for veils and mantles but that was also used as specific burial clothes or covers. It is also noted by the author that there are additional "fine silks" not covered in her work because they were detailed elsewhere.
For Denmark the charts are based on the total number of textiles/textile impressions.
Denmark - 10th Century
The notes above apply to this category also.
For Hedeby I had to reference the book Tools for Textile Production from Birka and Hedeby by Eva Andersson; Die Textilfunde aus der Siedlung und aus den Grabern von Haithabu by Inga Hägg; and VikingAge.org, as well as Jørgensen's work to obtain data for the chart.
Note that I only have the percentages for weave structure, not total number of fragments for Hedeby, and the percentages in Andersson's work are listed below. I believe it is, in part representative of the silk cloth, possaments or metal brocaded bands found in the graves. As mentioned previously, some of the fine tabbies might represent burial cloth.
It is also interesting to note that only one of the "other twills" is a herringbone weave, and the only herringbone sample from the settlement finds was from a legwrap. Also relative, the most common cloth from the settlement is 2/2 twill.
Sweden - Excluding Birka and Gotland
One of the nice things about Jørgensen's work is she does break out unusual segments of data, such as that from Gotland. This allows the reader to look at Sweden and Gotland (which tend to have very different types of grave goods) individually, rather than as a whole, which can skew the presentation.
Birka - Linen & Wool Cloth
For Birka I had two separate sets of data from which to work. One from the analysis in Jørgensen's book, and the other from Andersson. This first breaks it down into fiber types, as well as weave, but is based on number of graves, rather than number of textiles.
Birka - Textiles
This chart was based on a chart produced by Inga Hägg that covers the Birka textiles and that was reproduced in Andersson's work.
My only note here is that Jørgensen makes the comment that the Broken Diamond Twill is far more common in Western Norway, than in the South East.
For York I had to compile information from Anglo-Scandinavian Finds from Lloyds Bank, Pavement and Other sites by Arthur MacGregor and Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre from 16-22 Coppergate by Penelope Walton. Some of the fragments might represent one piece of cloth, but the author's were not completely sure and hence they, and I, listed them separate.
I think that by now that everyone with even a passing interest in Viking anything has seen the media extravaganza that is the Warrior Woman of Birka. I will not bother to post the mainstream news source click-bait headlines, here is the link for the piece about the recent DNA analysis of Birka grave Bj 581.
Unfortunately, this is stirring all sorts of Laegertha-esque fantasies in people. There is more to the science behind learning about the lives of those interred long ago. In this case, there is also an issue of whether or not those bones indeed even belong to that grave.
Other considerations also need to be processed. If weapons = warrior, then does that mean children buried with weapons took to the field of battle? Does it mean a 5 year old child was a master tailor because she was buried with the tools of the trade? There are also things like a female grave in Norway that contained a sword that was too large for her to wield. A great deal more study needs to be done before we can make any real determinations about whether warrior-women are more than a myth.
I have read three well-thought-out countpoints so far, and expect to see more in the future. My hope is that perhaps we will look more closely at additional graves (particularly those excavated more recently).
To say that I completely love linen would be a gross understatement on my part. I find this cloth to be a god-send in the local humid summers. It allows me to, quite comfortably, wear multiple layers of garb (presenting a more period look), than I otherwise could. Also, if you are using a long-staple linen, the fabric has great longevity.
I am the first to admit, however, that I use far, far more linen in period than my persona would have, and in far, far more colors. It is an exception that I make for events such as Pennsic, where it is almost a requirement for my comfort. I think most of us, in this area, tend to do that. What I want to discuss today though, is evidence for the use of linen in the Viking Age. Why? Because I have heard far too often very flat statements that Vikings rarely used linen, they never grew their own and sometimes narrower statements, that seem like they should have more of a foundation, such as "in Norway in the Viking Age no one used linen".
To start, Linen is a bast fiber spun from the flax plant. The first use of flax was in 7000BC in Turkey. (Ejstrud, 17) The first evidence of flax in Scandinavia is a seed from a Danish Iron Age find with the earliest piece of fabric being from the Roman Iron Age. Sweden has shows shows evidence of flax cultivation with similar dating to that of Denmark. (Ejstrud, et. al. 18; Viklund 509, 510)
There are other bast fibers as well, such as nettle and hemp, that were accessible to the Viking Age Norse. In archaeological finds it can even be difficult to differentiate between bast fibers. I have also noticed a trend, of late, where people are searching in desperation for hemp cloth to use for garments after the publishing of the article "Viking and Early Middle Ages Textiles Proven to be Made from Hemp". (https://www.nature.com/articles/srep02686 )
What I find interesting about that list bit, is that that particular study, while fascinating, used only 10 textiles, all of which were either decorative or home goods (two coverlets and the rest wall hangings). 6 are pretty solidly Viking Age, two others might be (skewing, by date, more to wards "might not"), and two are not. Only 4 of the tent total show use of hemp, and three of those show mixed use of flax and hemp. (Skoglund) I find that this is a fascinating piece of research, but it does not convince me that hemp would have been a top choice for garments.
This week I stumbled on a newer piece of research that thoroughly analyzed a number of textiles from Western Norway to fully determine whether the bast fibers involved were flax or hemp. In, "Identifying plant fibre textiles from Norwegian Merovingian Period and Viking Age graves", they look at ten samples, nine of which are considered to be from CLOTHING, and the last being from a purse. (https://www.academia.edu/34152492/Identifying_plant_fibre_textiles_from_Norwegian_Merovingian_Period_and_Viking_Age_graves_The_Late_Iron_Age_Collection_of_the_University_Museum_of_Bergen ) This piece, delightfully, helps to answer some of my questions.
9 of the 10 items were positively identified as flax and the final one was only able to be determined to be some type of bast fiber. (Lukešová) . I do hope that similar studies are carried out in a few other locations, to further confirm (or to counter) my thoughts that bast fiber garments worn by those of some social status (or at least wealthy enough to have a set of oval brooches, I will not deny that someone of lesser means might well have worked with native nettle or merely worn only layers of wool), were indeed flax rather than other alternatives. (See quote from conclusion below.)
There is evidence in some areas of Viking Age Scandinavia of pit houses, which are typically associated with weaving of linen or other bast fibers (the environment inside is more humid, making it ideal for weaving the difficult threads). Production tools and location for seeds and pollen finds can also be considered if one was trying to determine if flax and/or hemp is locally produced, but whether it was local or imported is less relevant at this moment to me than proof that, indeed, these garments were made of flax. (As a side note, Hägg, in her most recent work at Hedeby, mentions that she believes it is possible that the pleated underdresses were actually a Slavic imported item. That is a bit of research I would dearly love to see more information on!)
Even more interesting in this recent paper, was the information that two of the garments (both identified as "Women's clothing") were not the tabby weave most often associated with but lozenge twill. Of those, one dates to the Viking Age (the other is Merovingian Age) and is from Vinjum in Aurland. (Also interesting is that the paper labels this as a 10th Century find, as does Lise Bender Jørgensen, but Sørheim lists it as 850CE in her paper about the imported metal work.) Finds of linen in twill are rather rare, so this shoes that a diamond twill is a possibility, even if an archaeological rarity.
That of course let me on a chase for more information about twill weaves in linen, and I did turn up a couple of additional items. (Note that this is not a formal survey on my part, and I did not even take a crack at the Birka material for this, it was just a quick glance at Jørgensen's catalog of finds as well as Walton Roger's work at York.)
Vinjum in Aurland:
Fragments, 2.8X2cm. Diamond twill with a repeat of 20/10. Z/Z spun, 38/26 threads per cm. She lists it as probably linen. (Jørgensen)
Denmark: Søllested, Denmark (Item 97 in the book): Linen in broken twill or possible diamond twill; Z/Z; 30/13 threads per cm. (I am unsure of the gender of this grave, but there are no brooches in the grave.) (Jørgensen)
Sweden: Vivallen, Tännäs s., Härjedalen, SHM 15052: 4 Grave 4 (Item 35 under Viking Age Sweden): 1) 2/1 twill, Z/Z, 20/10 threads per cm, plant fibre (Jørgensen)
Sweden: Mossegårde, Fiilene s., Vi.istergiitland. SHM 15333 (Item 65):
1) 1/2 Gooseeye, Z/Z repeat of 18/12, thread count of 32/13 per cm, probably linen; 3) 1/2 Gooseeye Z/Z; plant fibre (Jørgensen)
Further, Penelope Walton Rogers' work from York records:
If the linen tabbies may be considered largely domestically produced, the origin of the linen textiles in other weaves is not so clear. Simple 2/2 twill in linen, or probably linen, of which there are four examples at 16-22 Coppergate (1273, 1332, 1403 and 1462), is Fig. 150 Padded pleat, 1462, in carbonised 2/2 twill. Not to scale extremely rare elsewhere, although there may be some examples from Spong Hill in Norfolk (Crowfoot and Jones 1984, 22, 24). Similarly only a small number of 2/2 broken diamond twills in linen are known from Anglo-Saxon sites, from Barrington, Cambridgeshire (G. Crowfoot 1951, 30-32), Finglesham, Kent (E. Crowfoot 1958, 17, 36-7), Sutton Hoo (E. Crowfoot 1983,460) and Spong Hill (Crowfoot and Jones 1984, 24), with counts of 16-18Z x 16-18Z, 22-24Z x 18S, 21-22Z x 15-17Z and 16Z x 16Z respectively, all with varying pattern units.
So what does this mean for me? It is, indeed, possible to use a very occasional linen twill garment in a high status kit. Would I choose to make the entire kit from twill and diamond twill linen? No, but a single garment could be possible.
And one more note about linen, because this item also comes up regularly and I mentioned before that I use linen in far more colors than would have been available historically. We know that linen could be dyed blue, as it turns up in archaeology. Woad and Indigo coat the fiber shaft in a manner differently than others dyes, such as madder, where dye does not take up well and often results in a pale shade that is not light fast. I have personally gotten some pretty light yellows on linen with weld and Queen Anne's Lace, and a lovely soft coral with madder, but I do not know that I could say that the Viking Age Norse would have desired such subtle colors.
In my research on Stripes and Plaids, I did make note of several Viking Age examples of colored linen and those are noted below (again, this is not a formal nor complete survey):
My Personal Plans
I plan to continue to use linen, rather than other bast fibers, for under garments and underdresses, and even occasionally headcoverings, in my more accurate kit. I might eventually incorporate a piece or two of twill linen as well, and my focus, in terms of color, will continue to be bleached, natural and blue linens over all. (For the bulk of my non-demo, non-teaching events, however, I will continue to use the spectrum of colors in my currently linen garments, but explaining, as I do now, the reasons behind my choices when discussing my garments.)
Bender Jørgensen, Lise. Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles, (Det Kongelige Nordiske oldskriftselskab), 1986.
Ejstrud, Bo, Andresen, Stina, Appel, Amanda, Gjerlevsen, Sara and Thomsen, Birgit. “Experiments with flax at the Ribe Viking Centre” (Ribe Viking Centre & University of Southern Denmark), 2001.
Lukešová, Hana, Adrià Salvador Palau and Bodil Holst. "Identifying plant fibre textiles from Norwegian Merovingian Period and Viking Age graves." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2017.
Skoglund, G., Nockert, M, and Holst, B. “Viking and Early Middle Ages Northern Scandinavian Textiles Proven to be made with Hemp.” Scientific Reports, 2013.
Sørheim, H. "Three Prominent Norwegian Ladies with British Connections." Acta Archaeologica 82. (2011)
Walton Rogers, P. "Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fiber from 16-22 Coppergate,” The Archaeology of York Volume 17: The Small Finds. 1989.
Viklund, Karin. “Flax in Sweden: the archaeobotanical, archaeological and historical evidence.” Veget Hist Archaeobot, 2011.
For most reenactors, the aprondress (also called hangerock, tragerrock or smokkr) is the ubiquitous female garment of the Viking Age. In fact, I am frequently asked by women if they have to wear the aprondress in order to do a Viking Age Norse impression.
Archaeology shows that during the latter part of the 10th Century the necessary brooches for the garment appear less frequently in graves and they eventually disappear by the end of the 11th century across Scandinavia. (Hägg, Textilien un Tracht, 320-321). In Denmark the brooches fall out of favor as early as 900CE in some areas. (Eisenschmidt, 100) This could be, in part, due to adoption of Christianity, and with it a more continental style of costume. The new style of costume could have been due to foreign fashions becoming a status symbol among the elite and wealthy in Scandinavia.
The first evidence of shift in costume is seen in Denmark, particularly in trade centers such as Hedeby. Denmark shared a border with the Carolingian Empire and trade between the two locations was common. Eventually, foreign items became status symbols in Scandinavia. Examples of this include items such as Frankish belt mounts (items that later morphed into their own form of trefoil brooch), and goods such as leather pouches and belts that were possessed by the elite of society. (Krag, Oriental Influences, 113-114) There was even foreign influence on dress beyond accessories and ornament. The caftan is a an example of such an item as it was thought to have either been in imitation of high rank foreign dress, or that the garments were received as gifts from foreign officials. (Hägg, Textilien un Tracht, 327; Krag, Christian Influences, 239-241; Geijer, Textile finds, 95-96; Andersson, Birka, 39-40).
Another garment that likely has ties to both status and conversion could be women’s headcoverings. Very fine wool and silk tabbies, as well as an impression of open weave linen, have been found in numerous graves, particularly those of women, from the Viking Age and beyond. Frequently this cloth is interpreted as veils or caps because of their similarity with the existing identifiable headcoverings from Dublin, Lincoln and York. The 10th Century grave from Hørning had such a fine wool mantle affixed to a wide tablet woven band that appeared to have been draped across the head and down along the body in the manner of a Frankish, Byzantine or Roman dress (Krag, Denmark, 29-34)
Additional places where a shift in costume likely happened earlier were certain settlements in the British Isles, where it is thought that in many locations the Norse style of dress was abandoned within a mere generation or two, or that the settlers were from Denmark (where fashion had already changed) rather than Norway or Sweden. (Kershaw, 225-227)
Is Transitional Dress for You?
Would you or your family be recipients of exotic foreign gifts (and fashions), either from your own ruler or from a foreign official?
Would you be considered high status or wealthy?
Do you live in an urban area/trade center rather than rurally?
Do you live in a region that has already converted to Christianity?
Does your chosen region and time show a decline in oval brooches as grave goods?
How Would Transitional Dress Look
In the late 10th Century the popularity of the aprondress declined and was replaced by fashion that evolved, in part, from surrounding cultures. There are a few existing male garments from this period, but little outside of headcoverings for women. Study of the known textiles, foreign influences, art from foreign influencers, and the occasional written record is needed to extrapolate what how this costume likely looked.
In this example of such possible fashion, this woman wears a gown of fine wool twill or tabby, dyed blue (well-dyed cloth would be a status symbol). Her sleeves are of an exaggerated length and pushed back up onto the forearm. Because she has the means, they are held there with bracelets or silk cloth cuffs could have been an option.
The dress itself could possibly have some tailoring as that practice started before this style arose amongst the Norse, but is not a closely fitted garment.
The outer gown is worn over a linen dress, closed at the throat with a small brooch. She wears a necklace of colorful glass beads and metal pendants. While round pendants are used here, a cross would also be a an option.
Her headcovering consists of a small cap or cloth (similar to those from Dublin) covered with a veil. This would likely be fine, open weave wool, though linen or silk are also possibilities. The veil itself might be edged with a fine, brocaded tablet woven band.
The length of dress and the long sleeves, as well as the dyed cloth and other jewelry show her status. A woman with less wealth might have a slightly shorter gown, sleeves that reach the wrist only, less or no jewelry and undyed cloth (from a naturally pigmented sheep’s wool).
Undertunic: This garment would be most likely undyed and could be linen or wool. Sleeves would likely taper to the wrist. Gores or godets at the sides (and possibly front/back) could allow for movement, but this layer would likely have less volume than the garment under which it is worn. It is possible that this garment can have a very long slit in the front at the neck, held closed with a small brooch.
During the late Viking age this linen garment might have been a Slavic import (Hägg, Textilien, p325) and might also have been finely pleated into a neckline such as seen in examples from Birka and Hedeby.
Tunic/Dress: This layer would most likely be of wool tabby or twill, with a high status garment possibly being of a broken-diamond twill. The sleeves would be long and likely fitted at the wrist (observe the tapered sleeves in the Moselund and Kraglund tunics) through the middle of the 11th century, but often images show a wider sleeve at the end of that period, eventually evolving into the the gorgeous bell sleeves of the 12th century. The sleeves could also be exceptionally long, and pushed back to form small wrinkles at the wrist. Necklines might have been be a keyhole, circle, oval or perhaps a slit similar to that from the Kraglund garment. Because this type costume was a status item during the Viking Age, the gown would be long. Gores at the sides, and possibly the front and back, allow for movement.
This dress could also be worn in layers over an undertunic. A wealthy woman with connections might also have had silk trim on her gown, or have had cloth that was well dyed.
Garment References: To help compile my own costume, I worked with contemporary art from nearby cultures and also the extant garments we have that might date, at least, to the end of the Viking Age. I also sourced the Hedeby fragments, and some of the Herjolfsnes finds, as Inga Hägg mentions in her work at Hedeby that the tunics there were of similar construction to some of the types found at later Greenland.
Belts: There is little evidence for belts in female graves of the earlier Viking Age, likely because one could suspend tools from the oval brooches or even from a single brooch that served as a tool hanger. Belts do appear, however, a few times in in period evidence, particularly in the British Isles. Further, the Hedeby aprondress fragment shows wear at the waist. (LeGett, Belts).
It is also possible that cloth belts without metal fittings were worn, such as a cloth girdle or sash as could be found in other areas of the world during the Viking Age. As the aprondress was falling from fashion, and other styles of dress were adopted belts might have become more common. For example, after the Migration Era (7th century and onward), it seems that Saxon women were shifting towards styles with a Mediterranean influence and these included woven belts, including possibly tablet weaving or open, net-like cloth sashes with fringed ends. (Walton Rogers, Cloth and Clothing, 220-221). A belt is even specifically mentioned in the poem “The Baptism of King Harald” which occurred in 826AD. Here the Danish King and his wife’s newly adopted attire for the ceremony is described. She wears a gold-brocade silk costume, a gold-wrought veil, belt and bracelet. (Krag, Christian Influences, 241). There are also images of women, from these areas of influence (Saxon and Byzantine), that seem to show a belt as part of the costume.
Remember too that just as with earlier Viking costume, that wearing no belt at all is an option.
Mantles/Cloaks: Metal figures and the Oseberg tapestry, as well as archaeological finds, show women wore some sort of layer over their tunics and gowns. Both cloaks and coats as part of Norse dress have been suggested by various experts.
As time progresses cloaks or mantles seem to be more common in depictions from other cultures (such as Byzantine or Saxon). A cloak or mantle could be pinned in the center front. Rectangular or square cloaks would be optimal with half-circle being a possible very high status option.
Headdresses: Metal icons from the Viking Age show women with their hair left uncovered in elaborate braids. These figures also seem to depict high status dress, and it is possible that uncovered hair might have been for festivals during that time period. However, there are also theories that those icons might not have represented human women or dress at all and that too should be considered here.
With the waning of the Viking Age came Christianity, and with that new religion arrived the concept of covering ones hair for modesty. While it is often said that pagan Norse women “always” wore their hair uncovered and Christian women “always” covered their hair, the evidence does not make such a clear delineation. There can be very practical reasons (beyond fashion) for covering ones hair, especially where working in the sun or around smoky fires.
The largest collection of extant women’s head coverings comes from Dublin. These finds, dated 10th-12th century, are of either silk or very fine, gauzy wool, have small scarves, caps and veils. There are a number of ways to wear these items, including using the scarves and caps as a base for a veil, which corresponds to well to some head dress styles from Europe during the same time period. Linen, while not found as a headcovering at the sites, might also have been a possibility.
The caps that have been found are universally narrow with the final width measuring between 15-18cm wide. Half of the extant items show signs of having a dart stitched into the back (allowing it to conform to the head), some of these had the excess fabric still visible on the outside of the cap forming a peak. Some caps were also sewn down the back, while others were open (possibly to accommodate a bun?). There are also several narrow scarves, some with fringed ends, and some even narrower cloth bands. Many of these items have been dyed. All of this points to variety in possible headcovering styles.
My Own Interpretation
I am working with this type of kit currently. Specifically, I am trying to build out an appropriate costume for a high status woman from late Viking Age Denmark. My patterning inspirations come from Hedeby (and consequently, Herjolfsnes) and Moselund, with exaggerated long sleeves styled after those from 10th and 11th Century art, such as the image to the left from the New Minster Charter (966CE).
I am using layered headcoverings based on those from Dublin (though in my photo here, my wool veil is slipping off the back due to my taking it off to use as a class example and not having a mirror when I replaced it). For my photo I am wearing a leather belt, because I have not yet crafted one for myself that is textile based.
This garment is in linen and was to test the construction of my Hedeby/Moselund patterning. The next iteration will be in fine, dark blue wool twill with silk trim. I also have dyed a fine wool mantle/veil that fits with graves such as that from Hørning and Fyrkat. While my look represents a woman of high status, and has elements, such as the veil, that fits with Christian ideals, she is not necessarily a convert herself (as there are thoughts that graves such as Fyrkat might have been to a volva). I look forward to working further with these concepts, patterns and the over all look.
References & Resources
Andersson, Eva. Tools for Textile Production from Birka and Hedeby (The Birka Project for Riksantikvarieambetet), 2003.
Andersson Strand, Eva. ”An Exceptional Woman from Birka”, A Stitch in Time: Essays in Honour of Lise Bender Jørgensen (Gothenberg University), 2014.
Bender Jørgensen, Lise. Northern European Textiles until AD 1000, Aarhus University Press), 1992
Bender Jørgensen, Lise. Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles, (Det Kongelige Nordiske oldskriftselskab), 1986.
Blindheim, Charlotte, “Drakt og smykker”, Viking 11.
Christensen, Arne Emil and Nockert, Margareta. Osebergfunnet: bind iv, Tekstilene (Universitetet i Oslo), 2006.
Fetz, Mytte. “An 11th Century Linen Shirt from Viborg Søndersø, Denmark”, Archaeological Textiles in Northern Europe: Report from the 4th NESAT Symposium 1.-.5 May 1990, NESAT 4 (Copenhagen), 1992.
Fransen, Lili, Shelly Nordtorp-Madson, Anna Norgard, and Else Østergård. Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns (Aarhaus University Press), 2010.
Geijer, Agnes. Birka III, Die Textilefunde aus Den Grabern. Uppsala,1938.
Geijer, Agnes. “The Textile Finds from Birka,” Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe (Heinemann Educational Books), 1984.
Gråslund, Anne Sofie. “Late Viking Age Christian Identity”, Shetland and the Viking World, Papers from the Seventeenth Viking Congress (Lerwick), 2016.
Hägg, Inga. Die Textilefunde aus der Siedlung und us den Gräbern von Haithabu (Karl Wachlotz Verlag). 1991.
Hägg, Inga. Die Textilefunde aus dem Hafen von Haithabu (Karl Wachlotz Verlag). 1984.
Hägg, Inga, “Kvinnodräkten i Birka: Livplaggens rekonstruktion på grundval av det arkeologiska materialet”, Uppsala: Archaeological Institute, 1974
Hägg, Inga. “Viking Womens Dress at Birka,” Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe (Heinemann Educational Books), 1984.
Hägg, Inga. Textilien und Tracht in Haithabu and Schleswif (Wachholtz Murmann Publishhers), 2015.
Harrison, Stephen H. “Viking Graves and Grave Goods in Ireland”, The Vikings in Ireland (Roskilde), 2001.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Reconstruction of a Viking Magnate Dress”, Archäologische Textilfunde - Archaeological Textiles: Textilsymposium Neunmünster 4.-7.5, 1993, NESAT 5. 1994.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Denmark - Europe: Dress and Fashion in Denmark's Viking Age”, Northern Archaeological Textiles; Textile Symposium in Edinburgh, 5th-7th May 1999, NESAT 7 (Oxbow Books), 2005.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Oriental Influences in The Danish Viking Age: Kaftan and Belt with Pouch”, North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X, Oxbow Books, Ancient Textiles Series Vol. 5, 2009.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Finely Woven textiles from the Danish Viking Age”, NESAT IX, Archäologische Textilfunde - Archaeological Textiles, 2007.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Dress and Power in Prehistoric Scandinavia c. 550-1050A.D.”, Textiles in European Archaeology: Report from the 6th NESAT Symposium, 7-11th May 1996 in Borås (Göteborg University), 1998.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Finely Woven Textiles from the Danish Viking Age”,
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “New Light on a Viking Garment from Ladby, Denmark”, Acta Archaeologica Lodziensla Nr 50/1: Priceless Invention of Humanity – Textiles, NESAT 8, 2004.
Hedeager Krag, Anne. “Christian Influences and Symbols of Power in Textiles from Viking Age Denmark. Christian Influence from the Continent”, Ancient Textiles: Production, Craft and Society (Oxbow Books), 2008.
Hedeager Madsen, Anne. “Women's Dress in the Viking Period in Denmark, Based on Tortoise Brooches and Textile Remains”, Textiles in Northern Archaeology; NESAT Textile Symposium in York 6-9 May 1987, NESAT 3 (Archetype Publications), 1990.
Heckett, Elizabeth Wincott. Viking Age Headcoverings from Dublin (Royal Irish Academy), 2003.
Heckett, Elizabeth Wincott. “Medieval Textiles from Waterford City”, Archäologische Textilfunde - Archaeological Textiles: Textilsymposium Neunmünster 4.-7.5, 1993, NESAT 5. 1994.
Helle, Knut. Cambridge History of Scandinavia, Volume 1 (Cambridge University Press), 2003.
Henry, Philippa A. Textiles as Indices of Late Saxon Social Dynamics”, Textiles in European Archaeology: Report from the 6th NESAT Symposium, 7-11th May 1996 in Borås (Göteborg University), 1998.
Henry, Philippa A. “Who Produced Textiles? Changing Gender Roles in Late Saxon Textile Production: the Archaeological and Documentary Evidence”, Northern Archaeological Textiles; Textile Symposium in Edinburgh, 5th-7th May 1999, NESAT 7 (Oxbow Books), 2005.
Jenkins, David. The Cambridge History of Western Textiles (Cambridge University Press), 2003.
Kjellberg, Anne. “Medieval Textiles from the Excavations in the Old Town of Oslo”, Textilsymposium Neumünster: Archäologische Textilfunde (NESAT 1), 1981.
Kershaw, Jennifer. Viking Identities: Scandinavian Jewelry in England (Oxford University Press), 2013.
Krag, Anne Hedeager and Lise Ræder Knudsen:
Vikingetidstekstiler. Nye opdagelser fra gravfundene i Hvilehøj og Hørning. Nationalmuseets Arbejdsmark. København 1999, 159-170. (in Danish with english summary)
Lee, Christina. “Viking Age Women”, In Search of Vikings: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Scandinavian Heritage of North-West England (CRC Press), 2014.
Lindström, Märta. “Medieval Textiles Finds in Lund”, Textilsymposium Neumünster: Archäologische Textilfunde (NESAT 1), 1981.
Nordeide, Sæbjorg Walaker. “Urbanism and Christianity in Norway”, The Viking Age: Ireland and the West (Four Courts Press), 2010.
Norstein, Frida Espolin. “Migration and the creation of identity in the Viking diaspora: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF VIKING AGE FUNERARY RITES FROM NORTHERN SCOTLAND AND MØRE OG ROMSDAL”, University of Oslo, 2014.
Ostergaard, Else. Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland (Aarhus University Press), 2004.
Owen-Crocker, Gale R. Dress in Anglo-Saxon England (Boydell Press), 2010.
Pritchard, F. “Aspects of the Wool Textiles from Viking Age Dublin.” Archaeological Textiles in Northern Europe: Report from the 4th NESAT Symposium 1.-.5 May 1990, NESAT 4, 1992.
Pritchard, F. ”Textiles from Recent Excavations in the City of London Introduction”, Textilsymposium Neumünster: Archäologische Textilfunde (NESAT 1), 1981.
Pritchard, F. “Silk Braids and Textiles of the Viking Age from Dublin”, Archaeological Textiles: Report from the 2nd NESAT Sumposium (København Universitet), 1998.
Roesdahl, Else. Fyrkat en jysk Vikingenborg – II. Oldsagerne og gravepladsen (National Museum of Denmark), 1977.
Simpson, Jacqueline. Everyday Life in the Viking Age (Hippocrene Books), 1967.
Skogland, G., M. Nockert and B. Holst. “Viking and Early Middle Ages Northern Scandinavian Textiles Proven to be Made with Hemp,” Nature, 2013.
Sorheim, Helge, ‘Three Prominent Norwegian Ladies with British Connections’, Acta Archaeologica, 82 (2011)
Speed, Greg and Walton, Penelope. "A Burial of a VikingWoman at Adwick-le-Street, South Yorkshire". Journal of Medieval Archeology, Volume 48. 2004. 51-90.
Thunem, Hilde. "Viking Women: Underdress." 2014. http://urd.priv.no/viking/serk.html
“Universitetsmuseenes Fotoportal,” 2013. http://www.unimus.no/foto/
Voss, Olfert. “Høning-graven: En kammergrav fra o. 1000 med kvinde begravet I vognfading”, Mammen: Grave, kunst og samfund I vikingetid (Jusk Arkaeologisk Selskab), 1991.
Walton Rogers, P. "Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fiber from 16-22 Coppergate,” The Archaeology of York Volume 17: The Small Finds. 1989.
Walton Rogers, P. "Textile Production at 16-22 Coppergate." The Archaeology of York Volume 17: The Small Finds. 1997.
Walton Rogers, Penelope. “The Textiles,” Archaeology of York (28-29 High Ousegate), Web Series, No. 3.
Walton Rogers, Penelope. Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England (Council for British Archaeology), 2007.
Walton Rogers, Penelope. “Cloth, Clothing and Anglo-Saxon Woman”, A Stitch in Time: Essays in Honour of Lise Bender Jørgensen (Gothenberg University), 2014.
Winroth, Anders. The Conversion of Scandinavia (Yale University Press), 2014.
Zubkova, E.S, Orinskaya, O.V, and Mikhailov, K.A. “Studies of the Textiles from the Excavation of Pskov in 2006,” NESAT X, 2009.
Zubkova, E.S, Orinskaya, O.V., and Likhachev, D. “New Discovery of Viking Age Clothing from Pskon, Russia.” (Notes and summary by Perer Beatson) http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/sarafan/sarafan.htm
Many cool Viking age things to be had here: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/psas/volumes.cfm
I am going to get on a soapbox now, you can feel free to leave if need be. And yes, I know that I have made this statement before, but I feel it can never be said enough.
If you ask someone about a thing or practice, or even your thing that you made yourself, and the comment that comes back is "that thing is not period" or "there is no evidence for a thing", that is not an attack. It is not an insult. Rather, it is a statement of fact given in reply to a question that was asked or as part of an ongoing conversation over a thing. There is no need here for defensiveness, though it is certainly ok to ask for sources or to engage in deeper discussion.
Further, it does not mean that that thing is unwelcome in the SCA or that you cannot choose to craft that thing that you happen to love. I can certainly discuss the absolutely complete lack of evidence for large scale Celtic art applique on Norse dress while appreciating the beauty of the item in question. I also often state that they indeed a very lovely way to approach SCA heraldry for any kit, especially for our Royals. That those things can be admired, however, does not give them historical validity, and there is nothing at all wrong with conversations that flow in that direction. Far better that someone who prefers to choose authenticity know the reality of something before they dive in and spend time and money on a project that they might later regret because it is not what they thought it was.
There are constant conversations online (and occasionally in person) about how someone destroyed someone's soul by giving comments that where not asked for. Understand that this also works both ways. If you ask for comments on a thing, you might well get some you did not expect, or some that match your own ideas on a thing. That is OK. That SHOULD be why the question was asked at the outset (to learn more). If you really do not want to know more, do not ask. To jump on the defensive over a statement of fact (that came in response to a question or as part of a conversation) can be just as hurtful, and just as game destroying, to the person who tried, to the best of their ability, to answer the question you ask. This person is taking their time to engage in a dialog that you initiated, to offer advice, to give their perspective.
Is the advice or commentary sometimes contrary to what we thought we knew? Does this shake our world? Sometimes, yes, it does. But that is why we ask these things to begin with. Do not ask a question just to affirm what you think you know. Do not ask a question when what you really want is a compliment. Ask because you want to know more, because you want additional input and because you want to expand on your work. All of that is quite ok, assuming that we react to that quake with grace. It is not always easy. I know this because I have been there, but it is how we grow as artisans.
And yes, sometimes we do not react with grace, but we can learn from that too. The key is to remember that this is not about you as a person. It is not even about the quality of your work. It is also not about the person who took the time to give you critique or engage in discussion with you. Please, please do not turn around and scream about how someone treated you less than kindly when, in fact, they were actually responding to your query.
I would love to see everyone be more willing to have thoughtful, engaging dialog. This is how we all learn and further our knowledge of things from the past.
(Yes, I understand there are people out there that might try to harsh someone on purpose, or people that offer comments that were NOT asked for. This post is NOT about those situations. They happen, everyone on this planet has heard about them at this point. This post is a reminder that it is a two way street and any "someone crushed my dream by looking at me funny" comments will be deleted.)
Occasionally I realize that I have totally lost my mind. Clearly this is one of those times.
Last year I decided I wanted to come up with a super easy, one layer sort of loose garment that I could do in linen that is more period than my typical bog dresses. (My "bog dress" is a modified version of the typical two-flap style that involves less fabric, less bunching, and some pleats for better drape. It is plausible, but is "inspired by" rather than based on an actual extant piece. My instructions are here: http://awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/sca-standards-the-bog-dress) awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/sca-standards-the-bog-dress
I prefer linen at War, but the issue with linen is that its drape does not lend well to garments that have a lot of fabric bunched up at the waist. Linen has a very beautiful crisp hand, and tends to fall away from the body rather than flow over it. Linen is also typically a tabby weave. Tabby also tends to fall away from the body, whereas a twill will better flow.
Both linen and wool are wonderful, as are both twill and tabby. They, however, have very different looks and are suited to different things. For me personally the linen tabby does not make me happy with a Huldremose or Zweeloo style bog dress because it is simply too much cloth (that does not flow well) gathered in at the waist.
I recalled awhile ago that I was deciding on what to do with some lovely mid-weight wool, twill plaid, and tested a very hypothetical garment out in that cloth. The bulk was too much, but just maybe it would work with this mid-weight linen...
In my massive stash of books and articles I have one entitled "Visions of Dress. Recreating Bronze Age Clothing from the Danube Region". This is by Karina Grömer, Lise Bender Jørgensen and Helga Rösel-Mautendorfer. I tend to collect articles by certain authors, in this case it was Bender Jørgensen that is responsible for this one being in my stash. It discusses a fantastic find from the Bronze Age in Austria and what the plausible costume construction for the fantastic (and dangerous, lol) jewelry could have been.
One of the options (Variant 4: Pustopolje type) is a very simple wrapped garment made from a rectangle of cloth. I have to take a moment here and note that it is expressly stated in the article that "none of the recreated outfits can be considered as 'the truth'". This is very key, they are all exceptionally hypothetical (and the methodology is laid out in the document itself, which I shall link further down). It does, however, work amazingly well and is quite beautiful in the linen that I tested! (There really is not enough to back this, even with this article, to give this garment enough to pass muster as an A&S project, but it certainly works for events like Pennsic, where I want to stay cool and comfy!)
Below are some tests I did. This is 2 yards of 5.3oz linen, un cut and unhemmed. I tried it with and without a belt and both styles are secure. I can walk, climb stairs, get up and down off the ground and chase cats in it. For this test I simply used kilt pins. In reality I will hem the cloth and use my Crafty Celts Belt and Fibula set (which dates several hundred years after this, but I have it and it is stunning).
The only issue I have so far found at all was that the top-front (neckline) tends to ride a little high on me. That can be easily fixed with a small brooch or fibula in the front that would serve to gather just a bit of that fabric (pulling it a bit lower).
I know that I wanted to over complicate this exceptionally simple garment, and was pleased when I figured it out exactly how easy it was. Below are steps to complete this look yourself. Note that the fabric requirement will change with size and body type!
PALADIN'S PANTRY RIDES AGAIN!
Dear Gentles, Have you ever found yourself with more to pack at the end of Pennsic then you did when you set out from home, only to find that your vehicle seems to have shrunk? Is your kitchen area full of boxes of cereal, pasta, jars of peanut butter, and jugs of bottled water you can't remember buying?
Never fear! The annual Paladin's Pantry Food Drive is here to help by conveying your camp's extra food and drink to a local food bank. Just drop any unopened foodstuffs or beverages (no alcohol, please) at one of our handy collection points:
Aethelmearc Royal (N04) Next to Pennsic University
Atlantia Royal (N40) Near the Gothic Abbey
Northshield Royal (E02) Across from Soalr Showers
Trimaris Royal (W17) Runestone and Great Middle Highway
BMDL Baronial (N10) Central Serengeti
Barony of Bhakail (N11) Corner of Brewer's and Fletcher House
Sable Maul (N29) Count Jehan's Bounty
Puffin's Rock Inn (N01) Next to Great Hall
Barony of Blackstone Mountain (E04)
Venshavn (E24) Next to Wulfden's Back Door
Clan Blue Feather (E12) Slope of Horde Hill
House Akeru Thunder (E17) Hill Road
The Lusty Wench Tavern (E17) Across from Chalk Man Pub
The Chalk Man Pub (E17) Hill Road and Good Intentions
House Finisterre (B09) Far West Side
House Iron Lance (W13) Base of Runestone Hill
Maison Rive (Merchant Space 23) Across from Cooper's Store
Offices of the Pennsic Independent --Top of Runestone Hill
Herald's Point (Low Road, next to playground)
In addition, this year the program will be collecting used tents, sleeping bags, cots, and rain gear, (especially those in child sizes), which will serve no one in a dumpster, to benefit the homeless. Exercise your charity, lighten your load, and help members of the community that has made us so welcome over the years! Please direct any questions to Lord Alexander of Ayr (301.401.2045) or Master Morien MacBain (304.283.5640).
Paladin's Pantry: We put the "large" in "largesse"!
If you have recently been to Æthelmearc War Practice, you know that there is an open Artisan's Playtime that goes on in the Great Hall during the event. This event has areas for different arts (C&I, wood working, fiber, etc.) where you can see arts demonstrated or even try your hand at something new yourself!
This year, Æthelmearc Royal will be hosting a Pennsic Artisans' Playtime! On Middle Saturday, from 10am-3pm, feel free to stop by and check things out. Come find your new art!
Lady Rosamund and I will be there processing wool and doing some other fiber things if that is of interest to you. Please stop by!
Please note that Æthelmearc Royal is a good location to remember should you need a place to sit in the shade or a bit or a glass of water. There is a populace hospitality area just inside! The Hospitality Staff will be happy to point you to it.
I dance, race cars, play video games and am on a fantastic journey to recreate the past via costume, textiles, dance and food.
Blogroll of SCA & Costume Bloggers
Below is a collection of some of my favorite places online to look for SCA and historic costuming information.
More Amie Sparrow - 16th Century German Costuming
Gianetta Veronese - SCA and Costuming Blog
Grazia Morgano - 16th Century A&S
Mistress Sahra -Dress From Medieval Turku
Loose Threads: Cathy's Costume Blog
Mistress Mathilde Bourrette - By My Measure: 14th and 15th Century Costuming
More than Cod: Exploring Medieval Norway