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July 23, 2009



Okay, apparently the post I thought I made this afternoon got eaten by the net at work.
I like very much that you're trying this project, but I'm really concerned about the documentation and the jumping between periods, and the interpretation of the material. The combination of elements from Anglo-Saxon/Jutish Britain at the 5th to 7th c. CE and 1370 BCE is a bit incongruous.

I dont' know much about the Barber book, although it's available on Google books - but I will say the hairnet/string skirt married/single duality is a rather iffy, at best. I think the best argument for the string skirt is that it's a ritual garment, although Linda Welters does suggest that in Eastern Europe about the same time it was both potentially a ritual garment and worn by women of ANY child-bearing age.

What we do know for certain is that it wasn't worn with the equivalent of the Borum Eshoj garment, although the bodice/blouse may have been similar in cut. Within 20-30 years in terms of finds, there are three very distinct skirt variations (1370-1350 BCE) - the string skirt (found on a woman about 16-18 years of age in the case of the Egtved woman, which is one of the principle complete finds), a wrapped skrt, which seem to have gone around the bust line and attached by tying, or with pins that have been lost (found on the Skrydstrup woman, age 18-20, who wore a hairnet, but has a negligible age difference) and the modified tube,tied with a a belt, (wonr my the Borum Eshoj woman, who was between 50-60 when she died, and probably the mother of the young man (18-22) found in the same barrow.

What I find interesting is the potential that the Skrydstrup woman's skirt actually does have the potential to actually be the maternity option in period, but if you take that skirt and belt it, it's a modified peoplos look.

Back to the string skirt - this is one of the oldest garments we've got represented in Northern European art. There is a whole lot of speculation on who wore it when, and whether or not it was a formal garment, one associated with performance (dance) or perhaps religious ritual. We know it wasn't worn under a tubular skirt - although the profusion of strings, and a potential double layer of strings ( the Olby skirt, I believe, has a double layer) makes it less revealing that it might be.

Also of major significance is the belt, which is distinct and matches the period art - it's a serious piece of hardware - a very large boss or disk, which protrudes from the wearer's abdomen, and increases a visual sense of the sun-worship that was practiced at the time. The skirt is incomplete without this belt (I've had a request in with Aedon for awhile for one, as had Glenna).

The wearers also have legging made of leather, usually reaching the knees, so the legs are essentially covered, rather than bare.

With regard to the bodice, the surviving piece is cut with an offset slit, as though it were made from an animal skin that had to be cut, in the case of the Borum Eshoj find, and without any slit in the case of the Edtved girl and Skrydstrup woman. The construction involves a wrap-around method that again suggests the skinning of an animal, but leaves the final appearance remarkably smooth, front and back.

There is a good, if nacient, argument for the continuation of the skirt/blouse combo into the Anglo-Saxon and Viking eras, but the appearance is remarkably different. I've been corresponding with scholars in Europe about it pretty extensively, and I'll be glad to talk to you about it at Pennsic. There is not archaological smoking gun, however, it's all speculation - but I suspect there will be, eventually. But, again, the format is different, and the dress accessories drastically so, compared to the elegant gold earrings and necklaces, bronze and copper bracelets and so on worn worn by the Bronze age Denmarkers.


I left out something relevant in the first part that I should have said - the Egtved girl had a hairnet buried with her.

bronze sheet metal

The Bronze Age was a period of time when metal making had advanced to the point of using bronze. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper.

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