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Vikings did not dress the way we thought

I found a slew of articles along the lines of this first one I posted article, the first one comes WITH a helpful picture.



Eureka Alert
Public release date: 25-Feb-2008
Contact: Johanna Blomqvist
johanna.blomqvist@uadm.uu.se
46-704-250-864
Uppsala University

Vikings did not dress the way we thought

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Vikings did not dress the way we thought Photo: Annika Larsson



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Viking women's clothing consisted of a single piece of fabric with a train, an opening in front, and clasps that accentuated the breasts. The apparel in the picture is...

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Vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors - the Vikings dressed with considerably more panache than we previously thought. The men were especially vain, and the women dressed provocatively, but with the advent of Christianity, fashions changed, according to Swedish archeologist Annika Larsson.

"They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire," says textile researcher Annika Larsson, whose research at Uppsala University presents a new picture of the Viking Age.

She has studied textile finds from the Lake Mälaren Valley, the area that includes Stockholm and Uppsala and was one of the central regions in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. The findings, some of which were presented in her dissertation last year, show that what we call the Viking Age, the years from 750-1050 A.D., was not a uniform period. Through changes in the style of clothing we can see that medieval Christian fashions hit Sweden as early as the late 900s and that new trade routes came into use then as well. The oriental features in clothing disappeared when Christianity came and they started to trade with the Christian Byzantine and Western Europe.

"Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there's an immediate impact on clothing fashions," says Annika Larsson.

She maintains that Swedish Viking women in the pre-Christian period probably dressed much more provocatively than we previously believed. She bases her theory on a new find uncovered in Russian Pskov, close to Novgorod and the eastward trade routes then plied from Sweden. The find consists of extensive remnants of a woman's attire, which Annika Larsson claims does not square with the traditional picture of how Viking women dressed.


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Vikings did not dress the way we thought Photo: Annika Larsson





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Swedish viking men's fashions were modeled on styles in Russia to the east. Archeological finds from the 900s uncovered in Lake Malaren Valley accord with contemporary depictions of clothing...

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Previously it was thought that Viking women wore a long suspender (brace) skirt, with both the front and back pieces consisting of square sections, held together by a belt. Clasps, often regarded as typical of the Viking Age, were attached to the suspenders roughly at the collar bone. Under this dress they wore a linen shift, and on top of it a woolen shawl or sweater.

"The grave plans from excavations at Birka outside Stockholm in the 19th century show that this is incorrect. The clasps were probably worn in the middle of each breast. Traditionally this has been explained by the clasps having fallen down as the corpse rotted. That sounds like a prudish interpretation," says Annika Larsson.

She maintains instead that the Birka women's skirts consisted of a single piece of fabric and were open in front. The suspenders held up the train and functioned as a harness that was fastened to the breasts with the clasps. Annika Larsson's theory is strengthened by that fact that a number of female figures have been preserved whose outfits both have trains and are open in front. But if we are to believe the archeological finds, this style of clothing disappeared with the advent of Christianity.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way and, what's more, exposed the under shift in front. It's also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden," she believes.


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For more information, please contact Annika Larsson, cell phone: +46 (0)70-499 98 85; e-mail: annika.larsson@arkeologi.uu.se or annika.larsson@ark.su.se

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-02/uu-vdn022508.php




Pre-Christianity Viking women were sexy dressers

www.chinaview.cn 2008-02-26 14:24:31

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- A recent analysis of remnants from a Viking woman's grave dating back to 10th-century Russia suggests a bolder, more revealing mode of feminine fashion that included colored-silk gowns with eye-catching metallic breast coverings and long trains prior to the arrival of Christianity.

"Now we can say the pre-Christian dress code was very rich," textiles researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden told LiveScience. "When Christianity came, the dress was more like that of nuns. There was a big difference."

The findings here apply to the Swedish Vikings, who mostly traveled east into modern-day Russia and further on to Byzantium and beyond from 750. A.D. to 1050 A.D (the Viking Age), rather than the Danish/Norwegian Vikings who went westward.

"Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there's an immediate impact on clothing fashions," Larsson said.

Larsson discovered a blue silk dress and associated ornaments in a grave in the Russian region of Pskov, close to Novgorod and the eastern trade routes then plied by Vikings from Sweden. She said the dress was positioned in the grave as a gift likely to be worn in an afterlife.

Until now, anthropological evidence showed a Viking woman wearing an apron on top of a linen robe. The apron consisted of two rectangular pieces of cloth, in which strings on the back panel attached to the front with brooches. The outfit was completed with an outer woolen shawl or sweater.

The new finding reveals instead that a Viking woman's dress consisted of a single piece of fabric with an opening in the front. A pair of brooches, or clasps, was situated on top of the breasts to accentuate the wearer's figure.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way and, what's more, exposed the under shift in front," Larsson said. "It's also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden" once Christianity became established.


Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com:80/english/2008-02/26/content_7673693.htm



Thaindian News
Swedish Viking women dressed more provocatively than believed
February 26th, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by admin

Washington, Feb 26 (ANI): Women who lived in the major Viking settlement called Birka in the 9th and 10th centuries dressed more provocatively than previously thought, according to a Swedish archaeologist.

Uppsala University archeologist Annika Larsson has suggested that the ancient Vikings enjoyed wearing vivid colors, flowing silk ribbons and glittering bits of mirrors, with the men being especially vain, and the women dressed provocatively.

“They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire,” Larsson said.

To reach her conclusion, Larsson studied textile finds from the Lake MA$?laren Valley, the area that includes Stockholm and Uppsala and was one of the central regions in Scandinavia during the Viking Age.

The findings show that what we call the Viking Age, the years from 750-1050 A.D., was not a uniform period. Medieval Christian fashions were seen in Sweden as early as the late 900s and new trade routes came into use then as well. The oriental features in clothing disappeared when Christianity arrived.

“Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there’s an immediate impact on clothing fashions,” she said.

She added that Swedish Viking women in the pre-Christian period probably dressed much more provocatively than we previously believed.

Her theory is based partly upon a recent discovery in the Russian town of Pskov, Novgorod, which is located on the trade routes which took the Vikings eastward. Substantial finds in Russia of Viking womens wear have provided a better understanding than could previously be gleaned from the small bits of fabric discovered at Birka, a major Viking island settlement some 30 kilometers West of Stockholm.

Previously it was thought that Viking women wore a long suspender (brace) skirt, with both the front and back pieces consisting of square sections, held together by a belt.

Clasps, often regarded as typical of the Viking Age, were attached to the suspenders roughly at the collar bone. Under this dress they wore a linen shift, and on top of it a woolen shawl or sweater.

However, Larsson dismissed the theory, saying, “The grave plans from excavations at Birka outside Stockholm in the 19th century show that this is incorrect. The clasps were probably worn in the middle of each breast.

Traditionally this has been explained by the clasps having fallen down as the corpse rotted. That sounds like a prudish interpretation,” she added.

She maintains instead that the Birka women’s skirts consisted of a single piece of fabric and were open in front. The suspenders held up the train and functioned as a harness that was fastened to the breasts with the clasps.

Larsson’s theory is strengthened by that fact that a number of female figures have been preserved whose outfits both have trains and are open in front. But if we are to believe the archeological finds, this style of clothing disappeared with the advent of Christianity.

“It’s easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way and, what’s more, exposed the under shift in front. It’s also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden,” she said. (ANI)



Source: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/swedish-viking-women-dressed-more-provocatively-than-believed_10021208.html



LiveScience
Viking Women Dressed Provocatively
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 25 February 2008 ET

A runway fashion show in Viking times would have spotlighted women cloaked in imported colored-silk gowns adorned with metallic breast coverings and long trains.

This surprising claim is the result of a new analysis of remnants from a woman's wardrobe discovered in a grave dating back to the 10th century in Russia, painting a picture of Viking panache before Christianity was established that runs counter to previous ideas about buttoned-up, prudish looking Norsewomen.

"Now we can say the pre-Christian dress code was very rich," textiles researcher Annika Larsson of Uppsala University in Sweden told LiveScience. "When Christianity came, the dress was more like that of nuns. There was a big difference."

The fashion findings go beyond apparel, revealing that the Viking Age from 750 A.D. to 1050 A.D. was not uniform and might even have been sort of sexy. (The findings here apply to the Swedish Vikings, who mostly traveled east into modern-day Russia and further on to Byzantium and beyond, rather than the Danish/Norwegian Vikings who went westward).

"Textile research can tell us more about the state of society than research into traditions. Old rituals can live on long after society has changed, but when trade routes are cut off, there's an immediate impact on clothing fashions," Larsson said.

Larsson discovered a blue silk dress and associated ornaments in a grave in the Russian region of Pskov, close to Novgorod and the eastern trade routes then plied by Vikings from Sweden. She said the dress was positioned in the grave as a gift likely to be worn in an afterlife.

Until now, anthropological evidence showed a Viking woman wearing an apron on top of a linen robe. The apron consisted of two rectangular pieces of cloth, in which strings on the back panel attached to the front with brooches. The outfit was completed with an outer woolen shawl or sweater.

The new finding reveals instead that a Viking woman's dress consisted of a single piece of fabric with an opening in the front. A pair of brooches, or clasps, was situated on top of the breasts to accentuate the wearer's figure.

"It's easy to imagine that the Christian church had certain reservations about clothing that accentuated the breasts in this way and, what's more, exposed the under shift in front," Larsson said. "It's also possible that this clothing was associated with pre-Christian rituals and was therefore forbidden" once Christianity became established.

The changes in clothes over time indicate that medieval Christian fashions hit Sweden as early as the late 900s, a time when new trade routes came into use, Larsson said. Overall, Oriental features in clothing disappeared when Christianity came and the Vikings started to trade with the Christian Byzantine and Western Europe, she said.

Source:http://www.livescience.com/history/080225-viking-dress.html
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