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Clothes-making in the Iron Age

Video Clothes-making in the Iron Age
From "People of the Iron Age"
2.17 minutes - Broadband.
© Lejre Experimental Centre

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The yarn was dyed with vegetable dye
The yarn was dyed with vegetable dye. Big picture
© Lejre Experimental Centre
The winters were cold
The winters were cold. Big picture
© Lejre Experimental Centre
 Home At the Time of the Tollund Man Clothes and Fashion

Clothes and Fashion

- at the Time of the Tollund Man

Examples of clothes from the time of the Tollund Man
Examples of clothes from the time of the Tollund Man. Big picture

We know quite a bit about how people used to dress at the time of the Tollund Man. We have discovered numerous items of clothing in the bogs dating from the Iron Age and many of them were well-preserved. Several of the bog bodies were dressed when they were discovered whereas others were naked with their clothes simply placed next to them in the bog. In other cases we have simply discovered items of clothing or pieces of clothing in graves from the Iron Age, and based on these discoveries we have been able to form a clear picture of how people used to dress in the Iron Age.

The clothes worn by Huldremose Woman
The clothes worn by
Huldremose Woman
Big picture
Silkeborg Museum took the initiative to have some of the items of clothing from the Iron Age reconstructed and we display some of them on this page.

In Huldremose (a bog) on Djursland a woman, who ended her days in the bog around the year 55 after Christ, was discovered. Her clothes consisted of a fur cape made out of sheepskin and a skirt woven with natural-coloured wool. The girl on the left, who is wearing a copy of the clothes worn by Huldremose Woman, wears her hair in the same style as Elling Woman.

Dress from the iron age
Dress from the Iron Age
Big picture
Not far from the place where Huldremose Woman was discovered, a dress like the one shown on the right was placed in the bog sometime during the Iron Age. Maybe it belonged to Huldremose Woman - this dress had also been woven with natural-coloured wool. It was designed like a tube and it could be worn in different ways. It was held together on the shoulders with pins.

The dress from Loenne Heath
The dress from Loenne Hede
Big picture
On Loenne Heath close to Varde a grave from the Iron Age containing a young girl wearing a very beautiful dress like the one shown on the left has been discovered. It was held in blue and red and consisted of a blouse and a skirt. The blue colour comes from the plant woad, and both the edgings and the borders had intricate blue and red patterns.

The blouse on the reconstructed model is held together with a couple of ornamented pins which Silkeborg Museum discovered at a gravesite in Vinding located approximately 20 kilometres south of the town.

Fashion for boys...?
Fashion for boys...?
Big picture
The young man in the right is dressed in a cape similar to the one that was discovered on a bog body in Soegaard Bog close to Skive in the western part of Jutland. The woolen legwarmers were discovered in connection with the same bog body.

The cap is similar to the one worn by the Tollund Man, and the young man is holding a peculiar looking tool. It also originates from the Iron Age but until recently we didn't know what it was used for. However, it was discovered that natives in New Guinea used a similar tool for digging - thus the assumption is now that the Danish tool had the same purpose.

At the time of the Tollund Man the most common item of clothing was probably a fur cape. Both men and women used them. The ones used for everyday wear were made out of ox- or sheepskin.

A Sveber knot
A Sveber knot
Most Danish men of the Iron Age probably had fairly short haircuts. That is what most of our discoveries show us.

However, in Germany bog bodies have been discovered which reveal to us that what was fashionable for men was that they wore their hair tied in a fancy knot on the side of their head.

It is called "a Sveber knot" after the North German tribe the Svebers. At the museum at Gottorp Castle in South Slesvig we find this chopped off head with s Sveber knot. It was discovered in South Slesvig.

 Related Stories
At the time of the Tollund Man

Everyday life
People got up when the sun rose and the cock crowed...

A village
Traces of the villages people lived in at the time of the Tollund Man have been found all over Denmark...

The houses were of the three-aisled kind which means that the roof was carried by two rows of poles...

The cooking was done by the fireplace in the iron-age house...

The iron of the Iron Age
Danish iron comes in the form of bog iron...

Gods and religion
When somebody died in the village, he or she was cremated in a funeral pyre...

Weaponry and war
During the Early Iron Age a significant number of wars were on in Europe...

During the Bronze Age light carriages with spoke wheels were developed...

The rest of the world
Europe was populated by two large nations who lived north of the Alps...

More Info
The naked body
The Tollund Man was completely naked except for a narrow leather belt made of oxhide around his waist...

Huldremose Woman's cape and skirt reconstructed
Huldremose Woman's cape and skirt reconstructed
Big picture

Dress from the iron age
Dress from the iron age. Big picture

Elling Woman's hairstyle and cape reconstructed
Elling Woman's hairstyle and cape reconstructed.
Big pciture

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