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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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To: finnsheep

Don’t forget. The world was much warmer in those days.


101 posted on 02/27/2008 1:15:20 PM PST by Daveinyork
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To: gleeaikin

“...they needed the extra stimulation...”

Nah. They just liked it.


102 posted on 02/27/2008 1:32:24 PM PST by swain_forkbeard (Rationality may not be sufficient, but it is necessary.)
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To: gleeaikin
"Magellan (I think) reported on women of Tierra Del Fuego nursing babies at bare breasts while sleet was falling on them (the breasts). "

That was Alexander von Humboldt who made that report.

He reported that these nearly naked people were short and plump and made their living from the sea while there was another group who were tall, slim (who wore animal skins)and who made their living as hunters on land.

Because the shoreline was so rocky and the water so rough, the boats were anchored off-shore in the kelp beds. It was the woman's chore to swin out to the kelp beds and fetch the boats for the male fishermen.

103 posted on 02/27/2008 3:12:12 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: gleeaikin
" They have needed the sun exposure to make Vitamin D in their skins and strong bones thereby."

A diet high in seafood (high vitamin D content) would/could eliminate that problem.

104 posted on 02/27/2008 3:14:31 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: AnAmericanMother

You come up with some of the darndest things! ... Pictures... and observations!

I love ‘em all!


105 posted on 02/27/2008 3:59:38 PM PST by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: AnAmericanMother
Sehr schon
106 posted on 02/27/2008 4:07:20 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: BenLurkin

Danke sehr, gnädiger Herr!


107 posted on 02/27/2008 6:28:10 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: AFPhys

Und ihr auch!


108 posted on 02/27/2008 6:28:36 PM PST by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: blam
"Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors - the Vikings dressed with considerably more panache than we previously thought. "

Fabulous!

 

 

.

109 posted on 02/27/2008 6:35:35 PM PST by itsamelman (Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh. - - Al Swearengen)
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To: JZelle
IF that's a Viking *woman*, no wonder the men were so feared!

Cheers!

110 posted on 02/27/2008 6:38:32 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Travis McGee

Great pic-—so realistic-——where does she keep her sword?


111 posted on 02/27/2008 6:45:51 PM PST by cmotormac44
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To: Daveinyork; blam; All

Yes, the world was somewhat warmer in those days, before about 1200 ad. An interesting factoid is that the cooling may have been part of the cause of worsening of master/serf relations. In the warmer period most of the community slept in the central structure/donjon/keep. The masters and mistresses had close contact with the people they ruled as they were all in one large sleeping area. With the advent of constant cold weather, walled off rooms and fireplaces became the norm and the rulers were distanced from the ruled. Clothing undoubtedly underwent modifications as well.

Blam: I tried to private message you to thank you for the Humbolt link, but for some reason my computer did not want to send a private message. So thanks.


112 posted on 02/29/2008 1:54:02 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: Daveinyork; blam; All

Yes, the world was somewhat warmer in those days, before about 1200 ad. An interesting factoid is that the cooling may have been part of the cause of worsening of master/serf relations. In the warmer period most of the community slept in the central structure/donjon/keep. The masters and mistresses had close contact with the people they ruled as they were all in one large sleeping area. With the advent of constant cold weather, walled off rooms and fireplaces became the norm and the rulers were distanced from the ruled. Clothing undoubtedly underwent modifications as well.

Blam: I tried to private message you to thank you for the Humbolt link, but for some reason my computer did not want to send a private message. So thanks.


113 posted on 02/29/2008 1:54:27 PM PST by gleeaikin
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To: gleeaikin
"...my computer did not want to send a private message".

So it posted here twice, lol. (Looks like an FR problem). You're welcome.

Somewhere around here, in one of my books, I have a picture/drawing of that nursing woman in the canoe approaching Humboldt's sailing ship that is at anchor. She's reaching up either begging or trading something at the side of the ship, bare breasted, with the baby in her arms.

114 posted on 02/29/2008 2:27:41 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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