Historical knowledge

The Huldremose woman’s clothes

The clothes of the woman from Huldremose are very well preserved, despite being almost 2000 years old. She was dressed in a costume consisting of a checked woollen skirt, a checked woollen scarf and two skin capes. The skirt was tied at the waist with a thin leather strap inserted into a woven waistband. The scarf was wrapped around the woman’s neck and fastened under her left arm with a pin made from a bird bone. On her upper body she wore a cape made from several dark brown sheep skins, with a collar of light-coloured sheep skin. The wool side of the skin cape was turned outwards. Under this was another cape with the wool side turned inwards. This was made from 11 small dark lamb skins. The cape had been used a great deal and had 22 patches sewn on. However, one of the patches did not cover a hole. Instead it contained a fine worked bone comb, a thin blue hairband and a leather cord, all wrapped in a bladder. Clearly the patch cannot be interpreted as a pocket, as it had to be cut open in order to get the things out. The sewn-in objects have probably functioned as amulets.

The woman’s long hair was bound up with a woollen cord, which was also wound round her neck several times. She also wore another wool cord around her neck, on which hung two small amber beads. An impression on the ring finger of her left hand indicates that she originally wore a ring. However, there is no sign of it today and it may be that the ring was removed in connection with the handling of the body in 1879.

A thorough examination of the woman’s body has shown that her innermost item of clothing was a garment made of plant fibres, maybe nettle or linen. Only af few traces of this garment are left on the woman’s skin, as the major part of the textile has decomposed during the period in the bog. The skirt and scarf display an alternating check pattern of light and dark wool.  The long period in the water of the bog has turned the clothes brown. Colour analysis has shown that originally the skirt was blue and the scarf was a red colour.    

 

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