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Let's "Sun" dance

The function or use of the cord skirt costume and belt plate, including the Egtved Girl costume, has long been debated. In the publication regarding the Egtved Found from 1929 archaeologist Th. Thomsen writes: "One is tempted to look at the Egtved woman with her bob hair, her bare lower body, the scanty modest skirt and from the knee to the ankle her bare legs as a woman married into a cult, a temple dancer, dressed to participate in erotic ceremonies." But immediately Th. Thomsen cooled down and suggested that the suit had a reference to their daily lives, and that it was linked to the young woman.

Lets "Sun" dance
Dancing on board a ship. One senses the movement and joy of dance. Graphics of rock carvings from Trättelanda, Bohuslän in western Sweden. Late Bronze Age, about 800 BCE Photo Graphics: Flemming Kaul in cooperation with Tanums Hällristningsmuseum, Underslös.

Did the cord skirt of the Bronze Age have a meaning?

It is also suggested that the cord skirt could indicate whether the woman was married or unmarried, or that it could be a part of a summer dress. However, there is still good reason to believe that the cord skirt and the belt plate was used during religious rituals, even if the suit today hardly raise as much excitement as in Th. Thomsen's time, and perhaps we would not use the word "temple dancer" in our days. Most likely it is that the cord skirt with the belt plate was part of a party costume used in the summer, where the religious rituals at the party included dancing.

Lets "Sun" dance
Dance on rock carving, Ryk, Bohuslän, West Sweden. Late Bronze Age, about 800 BCE (Photo: Flemming Kaul in cooperation with Tanums Hällristningsmuseum, Underslös)

The religion of the Bronze Age and the meaning of the sun


Bronze Age religion was a religion centered around the sun's eternal process around and around, the vault of heaven by day, through the underworld dark at night. The Sun Chariot tells about a horse that pulled the sun, and other pictorial representations tells us that the sun on its journey also was transported by a ship and helped by a fish and a snake.

Although the spiral is a geometric motif, it was not only important as decoration. The spiral was charged with a mysterious symbolism attached to the Bronze Age sun-religion and ideas of the sun's journey. In the spir al the sun's direction is hidden in a marvelous way. The spiral running round and round to the left and right, up and down, like the sun during the day, as the sun at night. At the same time the belt plate itself seem to be a representation of the sun. In the sun-belt plate coils are traces of the great cosmological narrative sun behavior.