Clothes and Fashion
- at 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Danish men of the Iron Age probably had fairly short haircuts. That is what most of our discoveries show us.
A Sveber knot
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.
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Huldremose Woman's cape and skirt reconstructed Big picture