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A 12th century toy boat with a hole in the middle where a mast could have been stepped
Image credit Åge Hojem, NTNU University Museum
A thousand years ago, for reasons we will never know, the residents of a tiny farmstead on the coast of central Norway filled an old well with dirt. Maybe the water dried up, or maybe it became foul. But when archaeologists found the old well and dug it up in the summer of 2016, they discovered an unexpected surprise: a carefully carved toy, a wooden boat with a raised prow like a proud Viking ship, and a hole in the middle where a mast could have been stepped.
Archaeologist Ulla Mannering studying the skirt belonging to The Woman from Huldremose whose 2,000 year-old body was found in a marsh in Jutland in 1879
Writing in ScienceNordic on the 29 May, Sybille Hildebrandt reports that –
Clothes in the early Iron Age were not grey and dull, as previously assumed. They were colourful and patterned. This new discovery comes as a result of new analyses of 180 textile samples from 26 different bog finds, carried out by Ulla Mannering, a senior researcher and archaeologist at the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research at the National Museum. “The beginning of the Iron Age sparked a revolution in fashion in which clothes became coloured and patterned,” she says. The conventional theory has so far been that colourful textiles only emerged in the centuries after the birth of Christ. “But our analyses show – quite surprisingly – that colour and pattern came into fashion in the earliest part of the Iron Age. That’s 500 years earlier than previously thought.”
The colours changed people’s world view
The new analyses also show that the bodies, buried in an ancient sacrificial bog, from which the textiles were taken are older than previously thought. Most of them date back to the centuries leading up to Christ’s birth, which makes them more than 2,000 years old.
Full article here.