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Vikings Did Not Dress The Way We Thought
Physorg ^ | 2-26-2008 | Uppsala University

Posted on 02/26/2008 6:28:06 AM PST by blam

Vikings did not dress the way we thought

Swedish viking men's fashions were modeled on styles in Russia to the east. Archeological finds from the 900s uncovered in Lake Malaren Valley accord with contemporary depictions of clothing the Vikings wore on their travels along eastern trade routes to the Silk Road. The outfit in the picture is on display at Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala University. Photo: Annika Larsson

Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors - the Vikings dressed with considerably more panache than we previously thought. The men were especially vain, and the women dressed provocatively, but with the advent of Christianity, fashions changed, according to Swedish archeologist Annika Larsson.

"They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," says textile researcher Annika Larsson, whose research at Uppsala University presents a new picture of the Viking Age.

She has studied textile finds from the Lake Malaren Valley, the area that includes Stockholm and Uppsala and was one of the central regions in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. The findings, some of which were presented in her dissertation last year, show that what we call the Viking Age, the years from 750-1050 A.D., was not a uniform period.

Through changes in the style of clothing we can see that medieval Christian fashions hit Sweden as early as the late 900s and that new trade routes came into use then as well. The oriental features in clothing disappeared when Christianity came and they started to trade with the Christian Byzantine and Western Europe.

"Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there's an immediate impact on clothing fashions," says Annika Larsson.

She maintains that Swedish Viking women in the pre-Christian period probably dressed much more provocatively than we previously believed. She bases her theory on a new find uncovered in Russian Pskov, close to Novgorod and the eastward trade routes then plied from Sweden. The find consists of extensive remnants of a woman's attire, which Annika Larsson claims does not square with the traditional picture of how Viking women dressed.

Previously it was thought that Viking women wore a long suspender (brace) skirt, with both the front and back pieces consisting of square sections, held together by a belt. Clasps, often regarded as typical of the Viking Age, were attached to the suspenders roughly at the collar bone. Under this dress they wore a linen shift, and on top of it a woolen shawl or sweater.

"The grave plans from excavations at Birka outside Stockholm in the 19th century show that this is incorrect. The clasps were probably worn in the middle of each breast. Traditionally this has been explained by the clasps having fallen down as the corpse rotted. That sounds like a prudish interpretation," says Annika Larsson.

She maintains instead that the Birka women's skirts consisted of a single piece of fabric and were open in front. The suspenders held up the train and functioned as a harness that was fastened to the breasts with the clasps. Annika Larsson's theory is strengthened by that fact that a number of female figures have been preserved whose outfits both have trains and are open in front. But if we are to believe the archeological finds, this style of clothing disappeared with the advent of Christianity.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way and, what's more, exposed the under shift in front. It's also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden," she believes.

Source: Uppsala University


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: archaeological; dress; fashion; godsgravesglyphs; vikings
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Thanks to Red Badger for the article.
1 posted on 02/26/2008 6:28:12 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv; Red Badger

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 02/26/2008 6:28:46 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
Dozens of High School Mascots go on suicide watch!

3 posted on 02/26/2008 6:31:26 AM PST by Clint N. Suhks (I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to hope like such as change to build future©®™)
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To: blam
. . . a harness that was fastened to the breasts with the clasps. . . .

Now THAT sounds darned uncomfortable!

No wonder Viking women were so mean!

4 posted on 02/26/2008 6:32:32 AM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: blam
How about Viking Wimminses??


5 posted on 02/26/2008 6:32:54 AM PST by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts...)
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To: blam
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn4CZw3oGOQ
6 posted on 02/26/2008 6:33:58 AM PST by Pistolshot (Remember, no matter how bad your life is, someone is watching and enjoying your suffering.)
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To: blam

7 posted on 02/26/2008 6:34:31 AM PST by SC DOC
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To: blam

This clasps and suspenders business is hard to vizualize.

But I imagine there was a premium on clothing that kept people warm regardless of Christian or pre-Christian.

Danish bog finds indicate women (in summer I assume) wore a very short skirt and short top.


8 posted on 02/26/2008 6:34:38 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: blam

The Viking Kitties® are not amused.


9 posted on 02/26/2008 6:34:46 AM PST by Fresh Wind (Scrape the bottom, vote for Rodham!)
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To: Bean Counter
Does this mean "Talk Like a Viking Day"
is canceled?

10 posted on 02/26/2008 6:35:05 AM PST by Clint N. Suhks (I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to hope like such as change to build future©®™)
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To: blam
and the women dressed provocatively

For historical research purposes only, I would like to see an example of this. My personal taste runs to zaftig women, but I will focus on the mode of dress in these circumstances, having a purely intellectual interest.

11 posted on 02/26/2008 6:35:05 AM PST by Greg F (Do you want a guy named Hussein to fix your soul? Michelle Obama thinks you do.)
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To: blam
Siberian Graveyard's Secret (More Redheads)
12 posted on 02/26/2008 6:35:08 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: squarebarb

And re: the pic;

that is an absolutely dashing red coat.


13 posted on 02/26/2008 6:35:45 AM PST by squarebarb
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To: blam

14 posted on 02/26/2008 6:35:52 AM PST by netmilsmom (Giving up "Hairspray" and the cast for Lent. Prayers appreciated!)
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To: blam
Vikings didn't dress the way we thought!
New research gives us new insight into medieval fashion!
The big surprise -- women dressed provocatively!

And, incidentally, we hypothesize that this charming picture of provocative Swedish female vikings was cruelly ended by oppressive Christians who came along and spoiled all the fun.

Not that we're making a leap in some sort of effort to smear Christians as the "no fun" crowd, or anything.

15 posted on 02/26/2008 6:37:03 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: netmilsmom

Greatest Bugs short ever...

Kiw da wabbit, kiw da wabbit !!!!!!!!!!!!


16 posted on 02/26/2008 6:38:09 AM PST by NYleatherneck (It ain't a World War until the French surrender.)
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To: Clint N. Suhks

Is there a guide to “Talk like a Viking Day”?

I could see myself with a major faux pas and falling into pirate talk. XD


17 posted on 02/26/2008 6:38:20 AM PST by netmilsmom (Giving up "Hairspray" and the cast for Lent. Prayers appreciated!)
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To: NYleatherneck

I agree.

That one and the Barber of Seville.


18 posted on 02/26/2008 6:39:24 AM PST by netmilsmom (Giving up "Hairspray" and the cast for Lent. Prayers appreciated!)
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To: blam

19 posted on 02/26/2008 6:41:23 AM PST by ConservativeStatement
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To: beer

20 posted on 02/26/2008 6:41:38 AM PST by evets (beer)
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To: squarebarb

Clothing and Hair Styles of the Bog People

21 posted on 02/26/2008 6:44:43 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Disinformation from Danish Cartoons lead to World wide misunderstanding of the poor Vikings and their style of dress. The Danes must be made to suffer should they not apologize and retract those cartoons immediately.


22 posted on 02/26/2008 6:46:00 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...call 'em what you will...They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: netmilsmom

It is an offshoot of “Talk Like a Pirate Day”.

Along with “Talk Like a Caveman Day” and “Talk Like a Truther Day”.


23 posted on 02/26/2008 6:46:49 AM PST by Clint N. Suhks (I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to hope like such as change to build future©®™)
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To: blam
Scantily Clad Viking Women


24 posted on 02/26/2008 6:48:45 AM PST by varyouga ("Rove is some mysterious God of politics & mind control" - DU 10-24-06)
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To: squarebarb

Elling Woman (Bog) (Hair stryle)

25 posted on 02/26/2008 6:48:58 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

That is exactly the way I want them to dress.


26 posted on 02/26/2008 6:49:23 AM PST by bmwcyle (I am the watchman on the tower sounding the alarm.)
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To: blam
One more for the show...


27 posted on 02/26/2008 6:51:08 AM PST by varyouga ("Rove is some mysterious God of politics & mind control" - DU 10-24-06)
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To: blam

28 posted on 02/26/2008 6:52:14 AM PST by WakeUpAndVote (Pork, just bring the hot sauce!)
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To: blam

Sounds unlikely to me. We aren’t talking about a Mediteranean climate here. All the exposed parts woulda been frostbitten. Now there’s a fashionable look. We went to Stockholm in May, back in the 70’s and there was still snow on the ground in places outside the city.


29 posted on 02/26/2008 6:55:22 AM PST by finnsheep
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To: bmwcyle

Amazing! That’s how my great-great grannie used to look and dress!


30 posted on 02/26/2008 6:57:08 AM PST by 8mmMauser (Jezu ufam tobie...Jesus I trust in Thee)
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To: blam
They were very fond of spam for breakfast though.



31 posted on 02/26/2008 6:58:56 AM PST by VRWCmember (McCain 2008 - If it's inevitable, you might as well lay back and try to enjoy it.)
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

No way.

They would have never built boats and left home.


32 posted on 02/26/2008 7:00:02 AM PST by labette
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To: blam

“Vikings did not dress the way we thought”

Gay vikings eating pudding.


33 posted on 02/26/2008 7:00:59 AM PST by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
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To: Clint N. Suhks

>>“Talk Like a Truther Day”.<<

OMG!!!
Please, in the future use the “LIQUID ALERT” warning on your ultra-witty posts.

It saves lives.....(I nearly choked to death! LOL!)


34 posted on 02/26/2008 7:01:29 AM PST by netmilsmom (Giving up "Hairspray" and the cast for Lent. Prayers appreciated!)
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To: blam

Viking Mae West says” Is that a helmet in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”


35 posted on 02/26/2008 7:03:43 AM PST by Hacklehead (Crush the liberals, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the hippies.)
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To: squarebarb
Danish bog finds indicate women (in summer I assume) wore a very short skirt and short top.

I would assume the summer or those Viking women were a lot tougher than we thought. Skimpy clothing and Scandanavian winters do not go together.

36 posted on 02/26/2008 7:04:34 AM PST by CommerceComet
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To: finnsheep

Sounds unlikely to me. We aren’t talking about a Mediteranean climate here. All the exposed parts woulda been frostbitten. Now there’s a fashionable look. We went to Stockholm in May, back in the 70’s and there was still snow on the ground in places outside the city.

_______________________________________________

Good point . . .


37 posted on 02/26/2008 7:07:20 AM PST by Greg F (Do you want a guy named Hussein to fix your soul? Michelle Obama thinks you do.)
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To: varyouga

38 posted on 02/26/2008 7:10:17 AM PST by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: finnsheep; Greg F
"We aren’t talking about a Mediteranean climate here. All the exposed parts woulda been frostbitten."

Ahem.

"Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," says textile researcher Annika Larsson."

39 posted on 02/26/2008 7:13:10 AM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

Leisure Suits???? Mao Jackets??????


40 posted on 02/26/2008 7:14:34 AM PST by Doc Savage (The tree of liberty needs to be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants)
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To: Fresh Wind
The Viking Kitties® are not amused.

Indeed!.

All Hail the Viking Kitties (you-tube version).

41 posted on 02/26/2008 7:17:36 AM PST by dinasour
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To: blam

42 posted on 02/26/2008 7:19:49 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: blam

43 posted on 02/26/2008 7:25:13 AM PST by JZelle
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To: finnsheep

I sometimes find it helpful to read the article before posting....It says the clothes were worn near the fire. Not hunting Caribu in a slit skirt....


44 posted on 02/26/2008 7:25:37 AM PST by When do we get liberated? ((Ok, Im the official Pit Bull Defender/If you can't stand behind our troops, stand in front of them.)
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

Thank you for posting that. I was going to get coffee with multiple shots of espresso, since I have a midterm in two hours, but your post woke me up already! :)


45 posted on 02/26/2008 7:26:41 AM PST by rabscuttle385 (Admin Moderator for President. The lesser of two evils is still evil.)
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To: blam

“Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire,” says textile researcher Annika Larsson.”
________________________________

My experience is that the front is warm near a fire and the back is cold . . . but then again they say that Socrates went without shoes in the snow in Athens so maybe they were tougher in those days.


46 posted on 02/26/2008 7:26:45 AM PST by Greg F (Do you want a guy named Hussein to fix your soul? Michelle Obama thinks you do.)
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To: blam
Vikings Did Not Dress The Way We Thought
AND ... they ate Spam. Who knew?

47 posted on 02/26/2008 7:27:52 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: finnsheep

“Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire,”


I’m sure they had big fur cloaks, wraps and coats for outside travel and they do have things called summers up there, too.


48 posted on 02/26/2008 7:28:22 AM PST by Skywalk (Transdimensional Jihad!)
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To: Clint N. Suhks
I spent all my allowance on this sweet chainmail shirt and helmet, now what am I going to do?? All the girls at the D&D Convention will think I look like a tool!
49 posted on 02/26/2008 7:29:39 AM PST by Holicheese (Beware your friendly air defenses!)
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To: Greg F

Alexander made his men bathe in cold water to toughen them up.

And he had soldiers near the end of his campaigns who were in their 60s. Foot soldiers, not some general in the command tent, either.


50 posted on 02/26/2008 7:31:05 AM PST by Skywalk (Transdimensional Jihad!)
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