Thanks to Baroness Sibella for the thoughtful resource!
|A Wandering Elf||
A friend just shared this blog post about SCA Research Papers and I have to say that I really like the way things are laid out. I plan to use some of the notes in it for future organization myself.
Thanks to Baroness Sibella for the thoughtful resource!
There are certain books that you just need in your collection. Some of them cover only one topic, such as Birka III (the textiles volume of the Birka finds), often though, the best gems are single articles within a larger book. The entire series of the NESAT books (North-European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles) is worth looking at if you have a chance. If you are in the US, most of them are available via ILL, and several are still in print or available as a Kindle edition. Every single one of them has a valuable article for the Viking Age (or ever several). I believe some of the articles in the older volumes are starting to show up on sites like Academia.edu for free download, but I still recommend taking the time to look at the books for yourself as even some of the peripheral topics can help you get a good feel for a period or a practice.
I will concentrate on Volume 7 and 10 here, and will cover the other still-in-print volumes (11, 12 and 13) later this week, hopefully. 13 was just released, so I have not yet gotten that one myself, but I will include some information on it as well. (I will eventually review all of the books, but am starting with these.)
While I typically include bibliographies with specific articles that I post here, I also maintain master bibliographies. They can be found under the "More..." button at the top of this site. There is one for Sheep & Wool and I just started one for my Migration Era research. There is a third for Viking Age research, and I will post there a link for my master bibliography excel sheet once it is updated (it is taking me some time, because I never kept a master bibliography when I started my studies).
I mentioned in my previous library post that I am starting to look into textiles and costume before the Viking Age. I quite excited about this project, not just because it is "new" but because I also love to see how textiles and textile production changes over time. I learned a lot (and made a great deal of mistakes, mostly in terms of organization) with Viking Age research, so I am hoping to apply the methods that worked better for me this time around (and spend less time reverse-documenting).
My first step in this adventure was to sort through my sources. While collecting material for Viking costume research, I also was pulling articles and books for earlier periods because they were of interest even then. Some of the items, such as Lise Bender Jørgensen's Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles, I have already read, but some were just stuffed in random folders on my many drives waiting to be explored.
I decided I want my first costume to represent approximately 500CE Norway. The focus of my reading will be 0-600CE and center around Scandinavia and northern Germany, with other areas (and slightly earlier and later dates), serving as peripheral finds.
After gathering items in, more or less, on place, I needed to sift through what appeared to be most important and decide where to start. For this, I opted for the Jørgensen volume mentioned above, as well as her book Northern European Textiles. I have read both volumes several times, so it was a matter of refreshing my memory on the details of the earlier material.
It also gives me a quick overview of the textiles available during that time. I opted to make some charts (similar to those I have in this blog for the Viking Age) based on the data available in these books.
I pulled out several books that I have in hard copy to decide what I need to read or re-read, and have selected Iconic Costumes, Textiles and Textile Production in Europe: From Prehistory to AD 400, Ancient Danish Textiles from Bogs and Burials (and am keeping a copy of the new dating for some of the items with that one), the Cambridge History of Western Textiles and The Högom Find and Other Migration Period Textiles and Costume in Scandinavia. I am also in the process of pulling out the most relevant articles from sources such as ATN and NESAT (an example being "Hammerum: the Find of the Century" from NESAT 11).
Over the next month I will be reading each of these items (and others) and taking notes as I go. In an attempt to make myself less crazy later, I am adding them as I finish them to my master bibliography (which is annotated and allows me to place each work in a variety of sources). For those that I have digitally, I am uploading them to my Mendeley account and highlighting and annotating them within the system.
Further, I keep an excel sheet of data points that I find interesting (this is how I managed all of my entries for my article on Viking Age plaids and stripes, as well as my notes on things like colored linen, or fine open weave wools that serve as head coverings). You can see below an example of a book opened in Mendely and where I am adding a note, as well as how I tend to categorize things within a spreadsheet (so far this sheet has tabs for stitches, colored textiles, and interesting notes, and there will be more added as I find points of interest that I want to track).
I also often keep a project planning powerpoint, where I can drop images that directly related to the item I want to make (in this case a costume). In this case there is a slide with the timeframe and location, the textile information/charts I craft, and slides that cover relevant visual items, such as screenshots of the Hammerum girl's dress.
It might seem like much, but the repetition is what helps to sort the material out in my brain, and allows me to remember it. (And, in the event I cannot, I can now also just run searches on Mendeley or my spreadsheet to find something.)
For this project I have taken one additional step, and that is to create a Migration Era study group on Facebook where others interested can join in on the research and exploration. I hope that the group grows and that everyone enjoys delving in.
If you want to follow along here, I will be using the Migration Era/Iron Age category for my posts!
Ulla Mannering, at the National Museum of Denmark, is one of the authors whose work I will go out of my way to track down. Many of her works focus on the Viking Age, which is how I was introduced it to, but I also am just now starting down the Migration Era and Iron Age trail of research for Scandinavia, and I am attempting to absorb as much of her papers as I can on the topic as well.
I cannot recommend this book enough to people interested in either time period. It is well-illustrated and covers many forms of iconography for the time (metalwork, tapestries, etc.). She analyzes the figures and interprets the costume arrangements in them. By far of most interest to me, however, is the last portion of the book that discusses the textile evidence of the period. There are great images of the extant garments as well as pertinent information about them.
I found this book mildly helpful with my Viking research, but it is exceptionally helpful now that I am looking at earlier periods and the transition between the eras.
I needed a date for one of the Danish bog finds (and it was not detailed very well in Hald's book). I searched and hit this site that is a wealth of information, including dates for many items and a gallery that is positively incredible Byzantine and Egyptian textiles and garments.
Go poke around, I guarantee you wont regret it: http://www.textile-dates.uni-bonn.de/findspot_list.phpwww.textile-dates.uni-bonn.de/findspot_list.php
This book is fantastic. I sadly missed my chance to buy it right before it went out of print (I had to choose between this volume and Heckett's book on the Dublin headcoverings), and I regretted not picking it up. I did ILL and read the book, but that is not the same as having it in some form.
If you are interested in Saxon costume, or early period costume, you really must download this book, which is now offered for free here: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-281-1/dissemination/pdf/RR145.pdf
This book covers textiles, textile production, clothing, embellishment, and jewelry. If you are interested in this time period, this book easily offers enough material to get you started.
It is fairly common knowledge to those who work with Viking Age or other early garments that while we have number finds of textiles, that they are often incomplete. The research to piece something together often has to extend beyond a single grave or even beyond an entire site or city to cobble together enough material to make things work. To help with this we often need to resort to period art objects, as well as written sources outside of the Scandinavia to come up with reasonable, logical arguments for our work.
When someone is new to this field, there seems to be a great deal of confusion about what I call the Woulda/Coulda/Shouldas of reenacting, as well as the intricacy of "burden of proof" and where that rests. I have talked before about the former on many occasions. Being able to eliminate those things from our thought processes can really help to gain new perspective and elevate our work.
To help illustrate this type of methodology, I have pulled out two examples of excellent work by reenactors in creating well thought out, and highly documentable reconstructions of the same costume. I chose these because both artisans worked heavily with archaeological evidence, additional evidence in near by locations or cultures and within a certain frame of time (rather than a broad stretch), yet both of these skilled women produced very different items.
For background, both Astri Bryde and Sophia Helen chose to recreate the costume of the Oseberg Queen. This burial dates to about 834AD and had two women (presumed to be a queen and her attendant) in one of the most elaborate graves from the Viking Age. This grave was discovered in 1903 by a farmer and the excavation started soon after. It was a high status ship burial that included cart with incredible carvings, a bed, textiles and tools of their production, and a number of other items, ranging from functional to highly decorative.
There are some additional details to consider when looking at this grave. One is that textiles were not always treated as important at the time when this was excavated. Another item of interest is that there was no jewelry (aside from a couple of stray beads) found at this site, some thing that is very unusual for a high status female grave of the period. The condition of the textiles, possible disturbance in the grave, and the lack of jewelry leads to a great deal of speculation about the costume of these two women.
What both Astri and Sophia have done is taken the facts that we do have (the textiles), knowledge of clothing of the period, including foreign fashion which is often proposed as an alternate costume for those of the highest status, and crafted well thought out costumes for this queen. Below are their gowns, and with that I have added information about them (not based on any written documentation they produced, as they are not members of the SCA, but rather it comes from my own knowledge about the graves).
Both of these dresses are beautiful. Both conform to existing evidence, as well as sources and logical methodology. Both of these dresses were not merely possible, but very plausible for the period. We cannot really say which is correct, but what we cannot say is that either is wrong. They are both valid interpretations.
Both artisans created garments that bring to life the evidence. What they did not do, was make blind assumptions or illogical arguments for styling of these gowns.
What could have mired these fantastic interpretations? Woulda/coulda/shouldas. These can be the worst of the traps that reenactors can fall into, in my opinion (and I have done so myself on more than one occasions, especially when I was starting out). Examples are:
We need to make the closest connections we can with the limited evidence in the period to make sound arguments for our choices. Both of the artisans I chose have done wonderful work on many levels, and their garments speak for themselves.
If you are interested in doing more reading on the fascinating grave from Oseberg, here are some resources:
Bender Jørgensen, Lise. Prehistoric Scandinavian Textiles, (Det Kongelige Nordiske oldskriftselskab), 1986.
Bill, J., & Daly, A. (2012). The plundering of the ship graves from Oseberg and Gokstad: An example of power politics? Antiquity, 86(333), 808-824.
Christensen, Arne Emil and Nockert, Margareta. Osebergfunnet: bind iv, Tekstilene (Universitetet i Oslo), 2006. (This is part of a 4 book series that covers the ship itself, the grave goods and the textiles. The entire series is worth looking at.)
Christensen, Arne Emil; Ingstad, Anne Stine; and Myhre, Bjorn. Oseberg-Dronningens Grav (Universitetets Oldsaksampling), 1992.
Holk, Peter. "The Oseberg Ship Burial, Norway: New Thoughts On the Skeletons from the Grave Mound", European Journal of Archaeology, Volume 9, Issue 2-3, 2006.
Ingstad, Anne Stein. "The Textiles in the Oseberg Ship". http://forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/Oseberg/textiles/TEXTILE.HTM
Ingstad, Anne Stein. "The Functional Textiles in the Oseberg Ship", NESAT 1, 1981.
Ingstad, Anne Stein. "Textiles from Oseberg, Gotland and Kaupang", NESAT 2, 1984.
Ruffoni, Kirsten. "Viking Age Queens: The Example of Oseberg", Masters Thesis, 2011.
Stylegar, Frans-Arne and Niels Bonde. Fra Avaldsnes til Oseberg. Dendrokronologiske undersøkelser av skipsgravene fra Storhaug og Grønhaug på Karmøy.
Vedeler, Marianne. "The Textile Interior in the Oseberg Burial Chamber", A Stitch in Time: Essays im Honour of Lise Bender Jørgensen, 2014.
Vedeler, Marianne. Silk for the Vikings (Oxbow Books), 2014.
Someone compiled a data base with images and information on the finds for Viking Age possaments. Enjoy!
The article has been published in the Archaeological Textiles Review for the Lendbreen constructions. I love that the time needed to reconstruct the garments was included, as it is very important for providing context for the garments. (Yes, I also love that they used Villsau wool!)
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
A Wandering Elf participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program.