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Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen

Edited by

Sophie Bergerbrant Serena Sabatini

BAR International Series 2508 2013

Published by Archaeopress Publishers of British Archaeological Reports Gordon House 276 Banbury Road Oxford OX2 7ED England
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BAR S2508 Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Honour of Professor Kristian Kristiansen Archaeopress and the individual authors 2013

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Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

Kristian Kristiansen
Preface As a relatively new Ph.D. student (in 2000) I attended a two-day seminar in Tanum. At the dinner after the first day Kristian and I had an interesting conversation about the female costume in the Bronze Age. Kristian confided that he had once worked on the topic, but could not get it published, so he turned to swords instead - and never looked back. He promised to send me a copy of his unpublished manuscript from 1975, which he claimed was his only unpublished manuscript. Our conversation stuck in my mind and was a comfort to me when work on my Ph.D. was tough. It was also a comfort to know that there was at least one other person out there who found the topic of clothing interesting. Our conversation ultimately led to Kristian taking over the supervision of my Ph.D. when my first supervisor took early retirement due to poor health. Somewhat ironically, his story came back to haunt me later, when it was indicated that my work was too narrow in scope due to having a gender theoretical framework; I immediately decided to do a Kristian and sat down to write an article on swords! As plans for this Festschrift began to take shape my first thought was to see Kristians only unpublished manuscript published. The idea was discussed with Lotte Hedeager, and we agreed that I should translate it so it could be published alongside the other articles in the Festschrift as a surprise for Kristian. The resulting translation also benefitted from the help of Marie Louise Stig Srensen and Helle Vandkilde, who assisted with some of the language problems and references. However, it was not possible to resolve all of the details without asking Kristian and spoiling the surprise, so naturally there are some irregularities in the references, nor was it possible to trace all of the original illustrations. Translation is always an interpretation, so the following is very much a product of my own understanding of Kristians original text, and any departure from the original is my fault alone. I very much hope it is recognizable, though, and that it pleases Kristian to become reacquainted with this old friend. Kristian, I hope you will not find that the text misrepresents your original ideas, and with this I would like to thank you for your enthusiastic encouragement with my own Ph.D. research, which made all the difference. Congratulations and a very Happy Birthday to you! Sophie Bergerbrant

Introduction This article deals with dress and jewellery in the Bronze Age. Its main hypothesis is that these two elements make a whole, and together can be defined as a costume. Ritual clothing and ritual dress attire are not included in this study. To shed light on this the article first examines the use of jewellery before considering how the jewellery related to the dress. In order to do this a definition of the female costume will first be formulated, and this is followed by a reconstruction. Use of Jewellery Introduction In both the Early Bronze Age (1700-1100 BC) and the Late Bronze Age (1100-500 BC), in graves and hoards, there were certain recurring combinations of female jewellery, which created special jewellery sets. The richest among these contained a belt-plate in addition to other jewellery. From Period II to Period V a timespan of c. 800 years - such belt sets, supplemented with neckcollar-ring, arm-rings /arm-spirals and a fibula (Broholm 1940, fig. 14; Kristiansen 1974, fig. 13), were common in high status burials. This type of jewellery set exists outside the Nordic region as well. In the Early Bronze Age it was found in southern Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein, and from Period III in Mecklenburg as well, and in the Late Bronze Age it also occurs in the area around the river Oder (Montelius 1885, distribution map). This combination will therefore be chosen as a starting point for general descriptions

of the jewellery tradition, as it is the most common jewellery form in the Bronze Age.1 The aim in the following section is to reconstruct how the jewellery was worn. This is based in part on the find contexts and also on the evidence of use-wear, which can be observed from use over an extended period. The latter method observes how the bronze surface has been worn down over time. The punched ornamentation has vanished or been reduced, and the trim around the edges appears rounded and worn. The wear can be registered in two dimensions: horizontal (distribution of wear) and vertical (intensity of wear). It can further be seen that there are certain rules for the relationship between the distribution of wear and the intensity of it. To a certain degree the extent of horizontal wear correlates with the grade of wear. One can see that there is a standard permanent way of wearing the jewellery in the Nordic region, and this is seen in the fact that the individual jewellery types bear characteristic wear-patterns that recur with some regularity. In the following the use-wear pattern for the different jewellery types will be presented and illustrated. Only well-preserved bronze artefacts are included in this study, as this analysis demands that the original surface of an object is preserved.2
An analysis of regional and chronological developments of different combinations of jewellery falls outside the framework of this article. The possibilities provided by these kinds of analyses can be found in Kunder (1973) and WelsWeyrauch (1975). 2 Problems with registration regarding the preservation condition of the bronze objects have been discussed with the conservation department at the National Museum in Copenhagen.


Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

The individual jewellery shapes Early Bronze Age (Periods II-III) The most common jewellery forms and types3 are described and depicted by Mller (1891) and Broholm (1952); for the Swedish material see Montelius (1917) and for North Germany see Beltz (1910) or Splieth (1900). The way that the jewellery has been worn can be seen from the hundreds of mound burials, where the deceased were buried dressed in their clothing and jewellery (Boye 1896; Broholm & Hald 1940). Fig. 1 depicts a female burial from lby on Zealand, where the placement of the jewellery illustrates the way it was worn. Almost all organic material has vanished, but the corded skirts are indicated by two rows of thin bronze tubes, which have been used as a decoration on the cords and were placed at the front of the skirt (cf. Thomsen 1929, fig. 22). A more detailed description of the different jewellery forms follows. Belt-plate The belt-plate is probably the most characteristic and distinctive jewellery from the Early Bronze Age.4 In older publications they were seen as shield bosses (Worsaae 1859 nr. 205) and later, following more careful excavations and documentation 1878-81 by Sehested (1884: 50-52) and Mller (Fig.1), it became clear that the objects were a form of belt jewellery. In 1876 Mller was already able to separate the male burials from the female (Mller 1876: 282ff; Bahnson 1886); he was aided by the well-preserved textiles that were found together with a female skeleton in Borum Eshj in 1871. This burial contained a belt-plate and many other jewellery forms (Boye 1896, pls. 11-12). During Period II the belt-plate had a round and slightly arched form with a protruding point of varying length in the centre. In order to reduce the wear and tear on the clothing the edges were slightly bowed outwards. The front is decorated with spiral ornamentation, which is spaced variously, from 5-6 cm to over 20 cm, in different zones depending on the diameter. Under the protruding point on the unpolished backside there is a small and thick, often moulded on, eye with a diameter of c. cm through which the belt had been pulled. When remains of it have been found this has been a thin leather cord. The long woven belt with tassels, which we know from Egtved and Borum Eshj, only functioned as a covering ornamental band and did not have a practical function. Tied with casual elegance over the hip, the long flaps with tassels at the ends hung down provocatively (Thomsen 1929, fig. 18), underlining that the belt-plate was a separate and distinct part of the costume and had its own character and role within the jewellery set. As Thomsen wrote, Den store runde Metalplade har da muligen p Egtvedpigen vret et stykke af Virkning som de indiske Danserinders runde Brystplader, p een gang dkkende og ggende [The large round metal plate on the Egtved girl may have been a piece like that used by Indian female dancers around breast plates, both covering and scintillating] (Thomsen 1929: 182). It is therefore the way in which belt-plates were worn that is noteworthy. Neither in the Egtved burial nor in other female graves is there any evidence that it had been sewn to the costume as was
The terms for jewellery forms are used collectively e.g. for all arm-rings, whereas types refer to the different regional or chronological variations in their design. The presentation aims to describe the way the general form of jewellery was worn and use-wear patterns from Periods II to V, and the type descriptions only play an identifying role. 4 For their origin see Sprockhoff 1940: 33ff

Fig. 1 Female burials from Zealand. From Boye 1896.


Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

assumed by both Thomsen and Broholm.5 If it had been sewn on, the stitches would have worn out in a fairly short time. That belt-plates were placed in some burials without being attached in any way does not mean that they were a special category of ritual burial jewellery. A closer examination of the belt-plates reveals that some of them have undeniable traces of wear from having been used for a long time. One of the most vulnerable places is of course the eye, and on many pieces one can see that this has been worn thin, or even all the way through. It is also not uncommon that the edge is worn in places (so that the rounding is uneven). The worn part had therefore been placed upwards, receiving wear during frequent and repetitive activity such as bending forward or sitting down; what is even more surprising is that the front or upper side of the belt plate is often worn, too. The ornamentation can be both moderate and heavily worn. This is also true concerning the protruding point. Compared with an unused belt-plate, it can be seen particularly clearly. One should consider, however, that the ornamentation could have had different depths on each belt-plate. With the wear comes an evening out and rounding of all corners and contours, and with an holistic view of the eye, the edges, the protruding point and the ornamentation a characteristic wear pattern is evident. If the edges and the eye are worn, then the ornamentation is also worn. At the transition to Period III the spiral-decorated belt-plate with eye went out of use and was replaced with a slightly different type, developed from the Period II tutulus, with a step-shaped base with a protruding point and a cross bar under the bottom for fastening. In Period III it grows in size and the point ends with a flat or umbrella-shaped circular plate. While in Period II there is no problem distinguishing between tutuli and belt-plates, partly due to the spiral ornamentation on the latter, it is more difficult in Period III, because there is no formal or stylistic difference. Neither is the size a useful criterion as there was a gradual transition from the small to large ones. Generally, the diameter is smaller than in Period II, and the most common size is the same as in Mller 1891, nr. 16. The larger ones are uncommon, but when they are found they normally occur in Zealand. A terminological difference between the tutulus and a belt-plate may therefore be a useful starting point. When there is only one found in a burial it probably functioned as a belt-plate judging from some of the well-documented inhumation burials.6 This view is strengthened by the fact that in many burials one finds the object in combination with belt jewellery/double button and in some burials together with the belt. The double button was used to close the belt on which the belt-plate was placed. In one inhumation it looks like the belt jewellery had been worn on the back as the eye was placed upwards.7 The wear on the Period III belt-plates is the same as in the previous period, except for the fact that here it is mainly the upper plate

that has seen the most wear. In some examples they were already broken in prehistory. Belt-box In Period III a new form of supplementary belt jewellery was introduced: a circular, flat or slightly pointed base, cast beltbox with low edges, on which two eyes, with small rectangular openings, were placed facing each other. In some cases the box could be closed with an associated bronze lid. The flat base was also decorated with one or a number of cast circular decorative bands, U-shaped depressions (star motifs), which have been filled with resin. The sudden appearance of the belt-box can best be explained by assuming that a decorated prototype in wood had existed. The technology of making decoration by cast depressions seems to mimic wood carving. Star motifs were already in use in Period II, where they appear on wood and bronze bowls (Hundt 1958a). Due to the introduction of cremation in Period III it has not been possible to observe the placement of the boxes on the deceased. It is therefore an open question as to how this jewellery was worn. On the box in the burial from Magelhj (Boye 1889) the lid closed with a wooden pin and it contained for example two horse teeth, some weasel bones, a part of claw of a lynx, vortices of snake, some small stones, pyrite etc. Animal teeth, fragments of animal bones and minerals were given a specific meaning in the Early Bronze Age. A small collection of wild boar and dog teeth was found in a Period II female burial from Bustrup,8 and similar collections can be found in male burials in the so-called sorceress bags (Lomborg 1956: 177-76, fig. 24).9 The belt-box can therefore probably best be seen as some kind of amulet hideaway. Does the special closing mechanism on the Maglehj piece, a wooden protector, as found on belt-boxes with wooden lids (Friis 1961, fig. 9), indicate that they were used solely as stationary hideaways for amulets? Hardly, for this arrangement was instead aimed at situations where the owner was unable to wear a beltbox. That they were worn on the belt, based on the use-wear, has already been determined by Neergrd (1897:86-87), and therefore they are rightly called belt-boxes. This is also suggested by the belt-box placement in the Vile burial.10 In many pieces a substantial expansion of the eye can be seen, which can hardly have been caused by a wooden lid, as wear of this kind requires some kind of suspension. This was probably created by a leather strap, as has been documented in at least one burial.11 Both the eye and the edge of the belt-box show an equivalent degree of wear, and the eye on some of the pieces is worn all the way through. Combined with a suspension of the box, only the placement on the belt can explain this wear. This is corroborated by the fact that the edges between the eyes are slightly bent by wear, which is analogous with the wear of the belt-plates. Finally, the ornamentation on the base shows a similar degree of wear to the eye and the edges, i.e. creating a consistent pattern of wear. One could argue that the wear on the base indicates that the belt-box also functioned as a standing box. However, put together with the wear pattern on the boxes, this does not seem probable. This is a problem that will cast more light on in the discussion concerning the hanging bowl.

In Thomsens report it says the belt plate has clearly hung from the belt on the naked body parts(translated from the Danish, authors italic). There are not any other observations concerning how it was attached other than the underside of the hanger ran approximately parallel with the coffins length. Taking into account the good observations of the excavation in the laboratory it could mean that it was not fastened in the burial, unless poorly conserved leather has played a role here. The direction of the eyelet does not bode well for the conservation of the leather, but the question has to remain open. 6 In the following inhumation burials in Period III the tutulus was worn as a belt-plate DB 1 Nr. 1272, 1862, 1999, 2339, probably 1950 as well as Tornhj, Copenhagens County (B14087-88). 7 DB I 1862

DB I 741 Wrapped beaver teeth have been found in contemporary inhumation burials in Europe (Hundt 1958b). 10 DB I 1915 11 DB I 1417
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Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Tutuli The label tutuli (singular tutulus) was designated early on to distinguish some small circular bronze plates, which have an eye or crossbar on the underside and a more or less protruding tip on the upper side, frequently crowned with simple stamped or punched decoration (Thomsen 1836:57). The crossbar position underneath shows that these Tutuli had been fastened with a strap and that they probably had functioned as decoration (Rafn 1956: 361 nr. 8). This is confirmed by a find of a tutulus in 1842 that still had a strap in place (Thomsen 1857: nr. 12) and a burial find from Steengrd which was given to the Crown Prince in 1842, where six tutuli surrounded a shield plate, with one having a leather strap still attached. The remains of the oak-log coffin were wrongly interpreted as the shield. It was therefore concluded that in this period it was common to have a shield of oakwood, which was kept together in the middle by shield buttons and in the periphery by these tutuli (Rafn 1856: 362). As already mentioned it was first with the careful excavations in the 1880s that the use of the belt-plates and the tutuli was properly documented. In Period II two different kinds of tutuli were used. The most common was a flat type with a short protruding tip and an eye on the underside. The plate is decorated with simple rows of beads or thin cross-hatched bands. A less common type has a vaulted, often step-shaped tip, under which a cross-bar was placed.12 In Period III the latter became the predominant type. It had a little circular plate on the top of the tip, but was seldom used as a tutulus. After this period, tutuli went out of use. On the flat type the eye is rather small and was most likely sewn onto the clothing or belt. The hemispherical type, however, as mentioned above, was used with a leather strap. In female burials the tutuli exist in various numbers,13 and frequently in connection with a belt-plate. They appear most commonly in pairs but in some burials there are up to a dozen. Often the tutuli were made in matching pairs. In a number of well-documented burials, especially from Period II, it is evident that they could be worn in many different ways. For instance, they could be pulled or sewn onto the belt, so that they were placed in a row on both sides of the belt-plate.14 In a number of burials the tutuli were placed in a circle around the belt-plate, e.g. Figure 1, and some of them must have been sewn onto the clothing. A number of the hemispherical tutuli in Fig. 1 could, however, have been placed on a string for the dagger. In other burials a different mode of wearing them has been found15 where the torso is covered with tutuli, and they could have been sewn onto the blouse or something similar. Finally, there are a few burials where two hemispherical tutuli with crossbars were placed at the shoulders, one on each.16 This mode of wearing could have been used in many of the burials with two tutuli and poor information about find circumstances. From Period III there are only a few observations regarding how
The type with a hemispherical rounding and crossbar are more commonly found in male burials (Broholm 1944:107). Its presence in the lby burial is an exception. 13 Tutuli were also used by men, normally found in pairs and found in 54 burials according to Broholm. In Mjuldbjerg, two were found on the torso with the eye turned upwards, and according to Boye it seems to have been pulled on the leather straps that kept the mans wrap-around together. Broholm, however, thought that they were used to fasten the clothing folds on the back, as sewn-on buttons. The latter seems more likely, and their use-wear indicates that they were worn under the cloak. 14 DB I nr. 268, 441 (Sehested 1884: Pl.IV), 1046 and probably 728 and 1417. 15 DB I nr 695, Albrectsen 1952, fig. 2. 16 DB I nr. 294, 354

the tutulus was worn. In Bragergrd17 there are 12 all grouped onto a leather strap, probably a belt, and some pairs of finds are also known.18 The use-wear pattern is the same as on the belt-plates. The eye is often moderately or heavily worn, and in some cases worn through. The ornamentation on the upper side is also worn to a similar degree as the belt-plates. Neck-collar and neck-rings The neck-collar, together with the spiral decorated belt-plate, is characteristic for Period II. In its classical shape the collar is cast with horizontal grooves, where it is normally stamped in a vertical and sharp-edged hourglass. At the ends there is an area which normally is decorated with spirals. The crescent-shaped collar is widest on the middle part and becomes smaller at the ends, which are coiled into a tube. In the early days of archaeology it was believed that this jewellery was worn as a diadem (Worsaae 1859:47; Madsen 1872, pl. 31), however, the placement in the lby burial (Fig. 1) and in a long line of burials found later, has shown that it is a form of neck jewellery.19 In some cases the opening is so wide that it would be no problem to put it on, where in others it is so small that it had to be everted. By attaching the coiled ends with a leather string one could then tighten the piece together. This resulted in some pieces snapping and these had to be repaired. The closing method is also clear in some pieces by the use-wear on the coiled ends. As one might expect, the edges of the neck collar are frequently worn, and to spare the blouse it was often bent forward like the edges on the belt-plate. It is, however, striking that on the pieces where the edges and the coiling are worn, comparable wear is found on the decoration. On heavily worn examples the hourglass stamps are almost completely worn away, as is the spiral ornamentation on the ends. In Period III neck-rings dominate, especially on Jutland, where Period III extends longer than in the Danish Isles.20 Neck-rings were typically worn singly, or less often up to three could be worn at the same time. They are generally twisted, but can also be cast, and some are decorated with ornamentation. As with other jewellery forms, the neck-ring displays different degrees of use-wear, mainly on the underside, however, with heavily worn pieces, use-wear can also be observed on the top of the neck-ring. Arm and ankle jewellery In the Early Bronze Age arm and ankle jewellery was generally reserved for women. However, arm-rings do exist in rich male burials, so there are then a few exceptions, and in these cases they are made of gold and often have spiral-coiled ends. Ankle-rings are unusual. In Period II they are documented from two burials21 and in Period III from three, and are probable in another two.22 The use of ankle-rings does seem random in

DB I 1417. e.g. DB I 2136. Concerning the origin of the neck collar see Sprockhoff 1939 and Petersson 1950. 20 Period III style developed on Jutland, and lasted longer here (Randsborg 1968 and 1972). 21 DB I nr. 984 (foreign type) and Skrydstrup (Becker 1946, mound 57, burial 1). 22 DB I nr. 1392, 1862, 2009 and probably 1915 and 2339.
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Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

contrast to e.g. the Tumulus culture, where special ankle-rings were never created. However, arm-rings were used, particularly in Period III. A number of different types existed (Kersten 1935:44ff) and in both Period II and Period III they were either ribbon-shaped or solid in form. To that may be added, of course, the spiral arm-ring, which was used in both periods, albeit only infrequently. The ribbonshaped arm-ring is normally horizontally ribbed and the solid type is ornamented with line bundles. Normally arm-rings were worn in pairs, and they were often made in pairs. In special rich graves one may find more than one pair, and in some of these examples it looks like the individual wore one pair on the one wrist while the others were placed on the arm, as the diameters vary on the different pairs.23 Evidence of wear can be seen on most arm-rings on the decoration. Fibula The dinuclear Nordic fibula is a classic example of the change of form and style from Period II to Period V (Oldeberg 1933), and it was naturally one of the first artefact types that Montelius made a typology of (Montelius 1874:219ff), which was the pre-study for Om tidsbestmning inom bronsldern med srskilt avseende p Skandinavien (Montelius 1885) - the foundation for Nordic Bronze Age chronologies. The fibula is developed from the normal pin with a hole through the head (Mller 1909:40), where the hanger only was a piece of leather or textile string which was tied to the hole and bound at the tip of the pin, so that the pin did not slide (Kersten 1936:32). When the hanger was transformed the dinuclear fibula was created. The fibula generally occurs as a single find in female burials in both Periods II and III (Broholm 1944:123, footnote 4 and 166, footnotes 2-3). However, one has to ask what function it may have had, because in contrast to the male costume24 the female seems to need one. The explanation might be found in the Borum Eshj burial Considering the dress it is said that the slit in the blouses neckline was kept together with the fibula (quote from Simonsens report based on information from the finders). If that is the case, then the width and placement of the fibula might have determined how tightly fitted the blouse might be. Is that, perhaps, the risqu explanation of its function? Or should we stick to the more prosaic opinion that the score in the blouse was made in connection with the burial, in order to dress the deceased more easily? In support of this is the fact that e.g. it has no hem (Munksgrd 1974:70). We have to settle with concluding that when a fibula was worn by a woman it was frequently placed across the torso, possibly to fasten the blouse.25 A small number of burial finds show that there was also another way to wear fibulae.26 In these cases the fibula was placed by the

head, outside the skull, where it could have been holding a hairnet or some other kind of headgear.27 Finally it should be noted that in some well-preserved fibulae one can observe degrees of use-wear on the ornamentation. With the exception of the jewellery described above, women frequently had ear- and finger rings, the latter made of coiled bronze or gold spirals. Gold spirals were also worn in the vicinity of the ear, especially on Jutland (Thrane 1962, footnote 13). Amber and glass jewellery are only found in the richer burials, sewn on the clothing or were worn as an arm-ring or necklace (Fig. 1; Becker 1946; Thrane 1962:92, footnote 29; Sprockhoff 1961, Abb 2).28 The most common forms and ways of wearing jewellery in the Early Bronze Age based on find context and use-wear have now been described. This is generally uniform and consistent through both Periods II and III. It was also shown that the upper side of a piece of jewellery was normally worn to the same degree as the use-wear on parts that were more directly impacted by the way it was worn. We will return to a more thorough explanation of this later. First, a similar review of the Late Bronze Age jewellery types will be presented. The focus here will also be on how the artefacts were worn and their use-wear, as well as the extent to which the Early Bronze Age costumes were transferred. Late Bronze Age The most frequently occurring jewellery is depicted in already mentioned publications. It is commonly recognized that from a purely typological perspective there was no break between the Early and Late Bronze Age jewellery types; rather continuation and tradition are evident. However, the picture changes on one key point relevant to this examination, which is the consequence of cremation which became the sole burial tradition. The shift to urn burials means that there was no longer a place for the large jewellery sets in the burial context. They were instead deposited in fields and in bogs (Hundt 1955). The complete body of analysed material therefore stems from hoard finds, which deprives us of the possibility of finding out anything about how the objects were worn based on the find context. From this point on we only have use-wear as an indicator. Hanging bowl (belt-bowl) In Period IV the belt-box developed into a bowl consisting of three parts: bottom, shoulders and neck. The neck is ended by a lightly thickened edge orifice, from which two rectangular opposing eyes were placed. The bottom is vaulted, in Period IV funnel-shaped and in Period V rounded. In both periods it is generously covered in ornamentation. In Period IV it is centred around star motifs (both cast and punched) and in Period V with rows of closed bands of waves (all punched). The hanging bowl is therefore a jewellery type that only goes through smaller formal and stylistic changes during the Late Bronze Age, therefore the following description of its use-wear and how it was worn covers both Periods IV and V. The hanging bowl was, like the belt-box, worn on the belt, which can be seen in the heavy wear on its sides and eyes. The
In the Lneburger area the women wore fibulae on the back side of the head, which has been suggested to have held a hair knot (Laux 1973:55-56). 28 In a burial from Oudrup, lborg County (B 15328-31) a V-drilled amber bead with added holes in the edge was placed at the head. There was a 2-ply thread in the holes and over and under the bead were remains of hair. It was probably worn in connection with a hairnet.

E.g. DB I nr. 1393 and 2057. In male burials a fibula was employed to hold the cloak together, probably at the right shoulder, as suggested by Almgren (1960), and as was the custom in the Tumulus culture (Trogmayer 1975). 25 DB I nr. 236, 620, 791, 1686, 1746, probably 1862, 1929 and 2042. Also Kaas, Viborg amt (B 14199-201). A similar use can be seen in northern Germany, cf. Wegewitz 1949: 178 and Beltz 1910:181. Illustrations in Krner 1959, pl. 3 & 4; Schwantes and Kersten 1939, abb 445; Schubert 1958, abb 32; Bohnsack 1961, abb 4; Sprockhoff 1963, abb 13. 26 DB I nr. 441-41 (Sehested 1884, PL. IV & VI), Skrydstrup (Becker 1946, mound 31, grave a, mound 57, grave 1), Skovby, Odense amt (F.S. 9434-43), Mangehj, Holbk amt (B14573 & 15197-211, Bue-Madsen and Bendizen 1968).
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Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

edge part between the eyes is worn in an even curved process, due to contact with the body, as the eyes are extended and in some cases worn all the way through due to the suspension in the belt (cf. Figs. 4 & 5). Thus the hanging bowl is belt jewellery that has never hung, and it should more accurately be called a belt-bowl, a term that is suggested for use in the future. The term hanging bowl goes back to archaeologys infancy, when for a long time this type of jewellery was mistakenly seen as a metal urn that had been hung through the small loops or eye-holes. The question now is: did one wear the hanging bowl/belt bowl on the front or on the back? A little bronze figurine from Itzehoe provides a clue about this, as it has a bowl-shaped ornament on its back which was worn in a belt over the corded skirt (Munksgrd 1974, fig. 50a). This way of wearing it seems probable when one considers how accurately the jewellery, costume and headgear are portrayed on these figures. It would also have been fully logical when it is seen in connection with the belt jewellerys function and mode of wearing. It is, however, striking that the bottom is worn to the same extent as its sides and eye. With a moderately worn piece the wear is particularly noticeable in the centre, but with more heavily worn pieces the worn parts cover the bottom completely. Belt buckle In the Late Bronze Age the belt-plate developed into a buckle, with the plate having been exchanged for a dome. The protruding tendency that characterized Period III was further developed, in that the actual plate was raised, while the neck became shorter and thicker. In Period IV the plate is normally tunnel-shaped and in Period V domed-shaped (cf. the bottom of the belt-bowl). In Period IV, to fasten it to the belt there was either a crossbar under the centre of the plate, as in Period II, or a wheel-shaped disc to fasten the belt with; NB: the latter is a trait taken from the double button. In Period V this difference disappeared, with the majority of the belt buckles having a rectangular eye on one of the sides used to fasten the belt and on the other a button placed on a bar. While in the Early Bronze Age the belt-plate was worn on the belt without having a practical function, in the Late Bronze Age the buckle actually functioned as a belt buckle. The explanations for these changes can be found when looking at them in connection with the belt-bowl, where the eyes show that the individual was wearing a broad belt, which must have demanded a string fastening if the bowl was to have been kept in place. As we soon will see, the use-wear left clear evidence of this on many belt buckles. On moderately worn pieces the mouth of the thickened neck is more lightly worn, especially the part that faced the torso, while on the more heavily worn pieces the wear is more even and takes a curved course. This corresponds with the eye and button, when the belt on the more heavily worn pieces has a worn furrow on the bar over the button, which resulted from the pull from the belt which was often slightly skewed. We can therefore easily reconstruct its use, and one end of the belt has been fastened to the eye while there was a hole for the button on the other end. When the belt was fastened one would have gripped the buckle with the right hand and the loose belt end with the left hand, and the latter end was then buttoned on. When the belt was fastened, though, it is natural that it was progressively pulled askew and the belt has therefore worn a furrow in the bar. The primary reason for this was, however, that it should hold the belt-bowl in place on the back. The curved wear of the side of the mouth edge that was turned toward the torso was created when the wearer sat down or

bent forward. Thus, in the Late Bronze Age, the belt and the belt jewellery formed a particular and independent costume piece, just as it had done in the Early Bronze Age. The plate and the tip of the belt buckle were worn to the same extent as the eye and its edge, precisely as in the case of the belt-plates and the belt-bowl. Some of this wear can be explained by the fact that one held the jewellery every time one put it on, however, in that case it would be limited to the right side of the plate. It is noticeable that the complete part of the surface of the jewellery is worn. On moderately worn pieces the wear starts on the top plate and expands from there downwards, extending over all of the plate on the heavily worn pieces. Neck jewellery The jewellery form that experienced the most radical change in the Late Bronze Age is neck jewellery. Period IV and Period V types will therefore be described separately. The typical Period IV neck-ring was hollow cast and the twists are cross-hatched in groups, with three rings making up a set. In order to be worn, one first had to detach the outermost part, which was fastened with a pin, or there may have been a specific removable intermediate piece. The diameter of the innermost ring is normally not more than 11-13 cm, so that it would have been positioned tight to the neck; the openings on many of the rings are so narrow that only a very slim figure could get them on. When the rings were placed layered over each other, it is only natural that they became worn where one ring was resting on another. It is noticeable, however, that on these the cross-hatches on the other part of the rings are also somewhat worn. On heavily worn pieces it can be completely worn down, which is also true for related Swedish rings (Montelius 1917: 1274 & 1275). In Period V a twisted or cast neck-ring was introduced with a massive ring body and oval jewellery plates, which either ended with a hook or spiral-coiled ends. The end-plates are often decorated with hatched triangles or ship figures with the keels facing each other, surrounded by a swirling band. The way these were worn was explained by Sophus Mller as early as in the 1890s. Previously, they were seen as hair-rings (Worsaae 1859:47; Madsen 1872: 32), however, Mller could show by studying, among other things, the wear of the rings, that it had been worn as a neck-ring, with the end-plates resting on the neck with the spirals pointing upwards. On heavily worn pieces the twists are somewhat smoothed by wear on the part of the rings where the lower side was resting on the torso. However, the part of the ring that rested on the shoulders or the clavicle is completely worn away. The lower edges of the end plates, which rested on the neck-shoulder parts, are also worn down with the ornamentation, and it is generally mostly worn in the lowermost area. Further, this is also true of the spirals upper edge on the most heavily worn pieces, which were worn down due to contact with the neck and back of the skull. Neck-rings of this type are rather large and have a diameter between 18-23 cm (or more), as they were placed in position by threading them over the head. The oldest types could be open a bit, but this was not possible with later pieces. The diameters therefore increase and the opening was made oval in order to be adjusted to the shape of the head, so it was easier to put on.


Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

Arm and ankle jewellery Arm and ankle jewellery are generally ribbed-shaped in the Late Bronze Age. In Period IV the profile is roof-shaped and in Period V it is wave-formed, and the rings are provided with rattle plates. In addition, one might wear massive arm-rings with thickened ends, especially in Period V, while the gold rings were common in the whole Late Bronze Age. They were worn as arm-rings, which can most frequently be observed by the wear of the end ferrules on the outer side. This is due to repeated contact with the clothing.29 Arm spiral rings were still in use, and were worn on the forearm as is shown in their slight tunnel-shaped profile. In Period IV ribbed-shaped rings have been found in pairs in a long series of finds. In the hoards there have been a larger number of rings, and a closer examination of the wear often indicates that they were worn as a pair, as they were also made in pairs. As a rule one only wore one pair, however in northern Germany it was common that to have more than one pair. In order to decide how they were worn one has to take the following parameters into consideration: the diameter, the expansion mechanism and the wear. Both undecorated Danish and decorated North German rings (type Oldesloe) have a diameter which corresponds with the most common diameter in, for example, arm spiral rings. They exist in everted condition only rarely. This indicates that they were worn on the arm, as this only demands a slight expansion to get the ring over the hand; therefore, they are seldom broken or repaired. If they had been worn on the ankle it would have required much more stretching due to the ankles smallest diameter, rarely under 4-6 cm. To this can be added heavy wear on the surface of the ring, which is most clearly seen on the North German Oldesloe type rings, and could be due to contact with the clothing. The ribbed-shaped ring was, as in Period III, worn as an arm-ring. The decorated cuff-shaped rings, which have their widest distribution in north-western Jutland (rsnes 1958: fig. 26), differ from the other arm-rings by frequently having a larger diameter. One pair that is everted to the point of distortion also exists, and in Brobjerg one of the rings is convoluted and has an 8 cm deformity. Moreover, the surface of the rings appears not to have been worn. The type is often found together with arm spiral rings, so they have most likely been worn as ankle- or leg rings, probably the latter. The diameter is normally somewhat larger at one end of the ring, indicating that the smaller end was turned towards the ankle and the wider upwards. The cuff-liked profile can best be explained by assuming that it was worn as an ankle ring, enclosing the calf muscle. The profiled ribbed-shaped rings from Period V have been interpreted as arm- and ankle-rings. Sophus Mller (1891: nr. 398-99) calls them arm-rings and adds by the use-wear it can be seen that the rings were usually worn at the edge, on which the added plates were placed, and one was turned upwards. H.C. Broholm (1953: nr. 188) interpreted them differently, and calls them arm- or ankle-rings. At those edges that may have been turned upwards, or in the middle there are often eves, in which there hangs rings or rattle plates. The wear is always at the eyes at one side, and never in the middle (when the eye turns vertical my addition), indicating that these rings were used as ankle rings,
In the Early Bronze Age the massive gold arm-rings are almost always found in male graves. Therefore, I am inclined to see these as mainly a male-type of jewellery. They are sometimes found in hoards with female jewellery (DB III M11, 158 & 164) and in burials without sex-indicating artefacts (DB III nr. 1059), and in urn burials with male objects (DB III nr. 1113 & 1117). For the most part, however, they are found singly or in pairs in closed gold hoards (Kristiansen 1975, fig. 3).

in that it always must have had the same position. Broholms argumentation is rather convincing, especially if it is compared with a number of other facts that point in the same direction. Many of these rings are in non-everted condition and have diameters that make them unusable as arm-jewellery, but would have been viable if worn as leg jewellery. Many of the pieces have been broken in prehistory due to forceful or too frequent opening, something that would not have been necessary if they had been used as armrings. Many of the very tall pieces are slightly funnel-shaped, but they would also have been worn as ankle-rings. Furthermore, on some rings with Knebel-shaped rattle plates a semicircular worn groove can be seen brought forward by the tommy when it swung back and forward. It shows that the rings were used vigorously and consistently. This also stresses that it is most likely that they were worn as ankle-rings. Furthermore, in some female equipment hoards they are found with arm spirals and ribbed-shaped rings. However, it cannot be excluded that some of them were used as arm jewellery, especially the smaller pieces (Kristiansen 1974:1718). Fibula In the Late Bronze Age the fibula developed into straightforward ornamental jewellery, which was only used by women. In the Late Bronze Age the practical function that the fibula had had was instead achieved by dress-pins. As a natural consequence the practical functions of the fibula were increasingly ignored in favour of the decorative effect of the design. In Period IV the pin became shorter so that the plates could be made bigger, first by flat hammering the spirals and later there was a special plate and socket cast that were soldered together (spectacle fibulae) to finally be cast as one at the end of the period (plate fibulae). In Period V plates were decorated with new features and the size continually increased. The question that arises is: how did one wear the fibula? Unfortunately, here we have to be satisfied with various hints, which at least complement each other and point in the same direction. One of the lost figures in the Grevennge hoard, which is only preserved as a sketch, is standing upright with a raised arm, and across the torso is something that looks like a fibula (Djupedal & Broholm 1952, fig. 7). Experimental testing and usewear analysis supports the horizontal placement. It shows that the pin normally rested against the holder for the pin, and many pieces show that this broke and had to be re-cast. The fibula was therefore normally worn horizontally with the pin-side turned upward and most likely on the torso. On many fibulae the plates are therefore bent upwards a bit, which harmonizes with a placement on the bosoms groove30 (the tradition from the Early Bronze Age therefore continued over time). The use-wear on the pin and the plates surface can be seen to varying degrees. On the most heavily worn pieces the ornamentation is almost completely worn away. Furthermore, there is wear on the plates, at least on the part that turns towards the pin. Costume We have now seen that the jewellery custom continued without a change throughout Early and Late Bronze Age. However, the
The use of torso jewellery is particularly clear in the fibula from Mandemark (Thrane 1958) with large spiral coils, which arches, one on each side of the breast. Some Period VI fibulae have downward-bent plates (Oldeberg 1933, fig. 159), and those could not have been worn on the bust.


Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

use-wear pattern that is characteristic for the different jewellery types cannot alone explain how they were worn as they also have a characteristic surface wear. Therefore, another factor must have played a part in creating this wear. I would therefore put forward that this recurring and uniform wear pattern that has been seen on the female jewellery in the Nordic Early and Late Bronze Age is not only a manifestation of the existing standardized ways of wearing the jewellery, but also evidence for the occasional use of a costume that was worn over the jewellery, covering it and therefore wearing down the surface. On this evidence a new definition of the womens clothing in the Bronze Age should be formulated, and an attempt is made to reconstruct the way the clothing was worn. When there is wear on jewellery from Bronze Age sets, the single pieces are almost always equally worn.31 The most likely explanation for this is that there was a common factor behind the creation of the use-wear. This can hardly be accounted for by anything other than a covering piece of clothing.32 Based on the way the jewellery was worn one may conclude that it was probably a larger coherent piece of textile, due to the fact that it must have covered the back and the front of the wearer, from the neck to under the waist. The wear pattern of the lower side of the belt-bowl shows that the textile hung relatively loosely, as it touched the top of the belt bowl as well and only when the wearer bent forward could the in-turning sides be touched. Thus, there is less wear there then on the top. Over the torso rested pieces of clothing that wore down the fibula evenly. It appears to have had a high neck, as it rubbed against the endplates of the neck rings and the front of the neck collar. The surface use-wear on the arm-rings can probably be attributed to rubbing against the blouse and the fact that it was covered by the costume, so that the arms were covered. The existence of a covering piece of clothing has been suggested in the past based on the evidence from a couple of North German graves, where the torsos, including the bust jewellery , were covered by small bronze studs, which suggest they had been sewn onto something placed on the shoulders (Piesker 1958: taf 66; Schubert 1958 abb 32). It must be related to the phenomenon met with in the Danish female burials, where the torso was covered by tutuli. For the first time now it can be said that this covering piece of clothing was frequently used in the whole of the Bronze Age in the Nordic sphere. The length of this covering piece of clothing cannot be determined, of course, however knee- or ankle length seems most probable, when one considers that it functioned as a covering on top of the usual costume, including the jewellery. Its primary function must therefore have been to give warmth and to protect when necessary. The female costume in the Nordic Bronze Age must therefore have had three elements: 1. An Egtved costume, containing a corded skirt and a blouse 2. A set of jewellery, which probably varied according to social status, and 3. A covering piece of clothing, similar in concept to the cloak worn by men These three elements together form the definition of the Nordic female costume.

One question immediately arises following this redefinition of the female costume: what possibilities do we have to gain a better understanding of what the covering piece looked like and how it was worn? To answer this we first have to look at the textiles in the preserved oak-log coffins burials in order to see if there is something that could have been worn in a way that corresponds with the use-wear pattern; one therefore has to look at the large cylindrical pieces that were sewn together and which are known from Borum Eshj and Skrydstrup (Broholm & Hald 1940, figs. 83 & 134). The interpretation of these two pieces of clothing have been disputed. For many years the Borum Eshj burial was the only example of a female costume. In A.P. Madsens and Boyes publications of the find (Madsen 1876:9-10; Boye 1896, Pl. 11-12) it was presented as a skirt, kept together by a belt. They mainly relied on the observation that the belt-plate had left a layer of green patina over the textile, which therefore had to be wrapped around the deceased as a skirt. They therefore assumed that this was the way it was worn on a daily basis. Mller followed this interpretation in Nordische Altertumskunde (Mller 1897, abb 131) and he added An der Kleidung selbest waren Fransen angebracht, umwunden mit zusammengerollten Bronzeblech (Mller 1897: 276, abb 139). The real explanation to this came first with the completely preserved corded skirt in the Egtved burial (Thomsen 1929), which for the time was a somewhat shocking find: a Bronze Age woman dressed in a short and partly see-through skirt.33 Thomsen suggests that it was either an airy summer dress or it was the clothing for a young girl (Thomsen 1929: 195), and argued that Borum Eshj represented the winter attire or the dress for the married woman. The discovery of the Skrydstrup burial in 1935 complicated the picture. It was a young woman buried during the summer, but instead of a corded skirt she wore a large tube-shaped piece of clothing that covered her from her hip to the feet, and it was held together by a belt. Both the theory about the summer dress and the young womens dress fell apart. However, Broholm pointed out that the piece of clothing could never have been worn the way it was positioned on the dead girl, as the belt was placed below the hip and the skirt would have had a long train (Broholm & Hald 1940: 155). Broholm therefore suggested that it had the function as a skirt shroud34, maybe to hide the lack of a corded skirt (Hgg 1968: 85). The existence of two contemporary and almost identical pieces of clothing found far from each other lets us presume that we are looking at a common type of clothing. It is therefore natural to reconstruct the way it was worn. A copy of the Skrydstrup dress was made by Margareth Hald. The result, which can here be seen in Fig. 2, was strongly inspired by the arrangement in the coffin, and neither Broholm nor Margarethe Hald saw this as particularly convincing. A new reconstruction attempt was made in 1949 by Inga Henning Almgren (Almgren 1951), who suggested that it had been worn in the style of Classical Greek people (Fig 3; an idea that had previously been suggested by Nrlund 1941). A number of practical reasons support this solution, including the better use of the fabric. The argument was expanded further by Inga Hgg in 1968 when she pointed to a number of similarities between elements of costume from the Nordic region, Europe and GreeceThe reluctance to accept the use of the corded skirt is a good illustration of the dependence of research on its time and environment (Harald-Handsen 1949, 1952; Broholm 1950 and references). 34 In the same manner that the dead mans cloak was placed covering the deceased, or, as in the case of Muldbjerg, was folded and placed in the bottom of the coffin.

Naturally, there are examples which show that the women obtained new supplementing jewellery or exchanged an old one. The uniform wear of the jewellery sets is, however, a recurring trait, and on the basis of this it is possible to separate individual jewellery sets in composite hoards in the Late Bronze Age (Kristiansen 1974). A definition of different use-wear categories has been used with success in chronological studies (Kristiansen 1972: chapter 2, unpublished gold medal thesis). 32 In opposition to this is the fact that the punching of the ornamentation also played a role. If this were the case all plates would be worn equally, and this is not so.


Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

Macedonia (Hgg 1968). It must, however, be noted that Inga Almgren did not use exact copies of the Skrydstrup or Borum Eshj garments in her reconstruction, but a somewhat smaller version. To sum up, Stand der Forsung concerning the female costume in the Nordic Bronze Age leaves us with two different types, exemplified in the Egtved burial and the Skrydstrup burial. For the Late Bronze Age only the corded skirt can be documented, as it can be seen clearly on a number of small bronze figurines (Brohom & Hald 1940, figs. 192-195 and the presence of tubes for the corded skirt (Broholm 1946; burial 1372, and M 52). However, the tube-shaped piece of clothing from Huldremose (Hald 1950, figs. 425 & 427), which probably dates to the Early Iron Age, demonstrates that a related type was also continuously used throughout the Late Bronze Age. As has just been shown, there was only one type of costume in the Nordic Bronze Age, and this contained the Egtved clothing, jewellery and a covering piece of clothing. The different components of clothing in the Egtved and the Skrydstrup burials can therefore best be seen as parts of a common costume, where the cylindrical clothing piece represents the covering garment. Due to its use as a shroud at the funeral, we cannot see how it was worn in life. Tacking it with a shoulder pin does seem the most likely scenario. Support for this can be found in the Tumulus culture, closely related to the Nordic Bronze Age. Here women were buried with two long shoulder pins (Holste 1953: 103; Ziegert 1963: 41-42), which could be worn both horizontally or vertically, which is clear from Naus classical drawings (Fig. 4, Naue 1894, Taf. V, VII & VIII; see also Trogmayer 1975). Some of these pins kept long, full clothing from falling down and attached to the blouse. In South Thringen, the area for which we have the best knowledge about costume, women however had long sleeves, which makes it improbable that the pins would have been attached to the blouse (Feustel 1958:50). It seems much more likely that they were attached/closed a covering piece of clothing; following Feustel, the Brillenadel attached a special headdress and the wheel-headed pin closed the outer garment. In some cases a head band held the headdress in place (Feustel, Farker & Blumenstein 1970, taf. 34). The blouse and skirt were probably two separate pieces of clothing, as the lower edge of some of the blouses had sewn on Brillenspiral, for example in Wixhausen (Jorns 1950, taf. 18). The length of the skirt is more uncertain, as in the Mltahl burial (Fig. 4) the thighs of the deceased were covered with bronze ornaments, most likely attached to a short skirt like the corded skirt from the Nordic region (Fig. 1).35 The shoulder pins then attached/closed the covering clothing, which covered the blouse, the skirt and the jewellery. In the Late Bronze Age the pairs of pins in the urn burials indicate that the tradition continued. First from the Hallstatt period inhumations give us a clear foundation for this, as they seem to confirm this. In southern Bavaria the women still used two shoulder pins, which have been interpreted by Kossack (1959:99) as attaching as in the case of a Greek chiton. Furthermore, in south-eastern Europe (Macedonia) the rich burial finds in Vergina from Ha B, C and D demonstrate that one still wore a costume corresponding to the one used in the Tumulus culture, i.e. a bronze decorated skirt and probably a piece of covering clothing that was attached at the shoulders with Brillenspiral pins (Hgg 1968 and references).36

Fig. 2 Reconstruction of the Skrydstrup costume made by Margarethe Hald. The similarity in the composition of the costume in the Nordic region and central Europe are for some burial finds so close that one can talk about a common costume, despite any possible difference in the shape of the individual pieces of clothing and despite the difference in jewellery traditions. The lack of pin in the Nordic burials makes it difficult to compare how the covering piece of clothing was worn. Based on the typological community of costume it is, however, not unlikely that they were also used as a pair of pins in the Nordic Bronze Age, where the deceased was not buried in their covering clothing like in the Tumulus culture, but rather the item was employed as a shroud. Furthermore, the pins were also sometimes made of wood or bone, as can be seen in the Late Neolithic.37 Different traditions and burial customs may be the reason that only the clothing was preserved in Scandinavia and the pins in Europe. However, in the Late Bronze Age we frequently find pins, but we lack information of their precise
37 In the graves mentioned above (footnote 16), the tutuli were placed at the shoulders; they could have functioned as an attachment for a covering piece of clothing, which the deceased was sometimes buried in.

The two groups of bronze tubes placed below the belt most likely decorated the fringes of the belt. A close parallel has recently been excavated on Zealand. 36 I will refrain from discussing the costume in Ha A, as it is known from e.g. Hohmichele (Riek & Hundt 1962) or the Situla art (Lenneis 1972).


Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Fig. 3 Inga H. Almgrens costume reconstruction after E. Munklsgrd 1974, fig. 52. function. The bronze pins that occur individually in urn burials belonged to the male costume, as tweezers and razors are found with them. They were probably used to close the cloak. From Period IV, however, we encounter a pair of bone pins in northern Jutland. They are the result of a new regional burial tradition, where, in contrast to the earlier tradition, womens pins are found. From Period VI there are a number of hoards with female jewellery that contain pairs of pins.38 There is therefore evidence that indicates the use of an attachment at the shoulders, if one reconstructs how the Skrydstrup and Borum Eshj garments were worn. We quickly learnt from a reconstruction based on this that the suggestion made by Henning Almgren was not possible, as it creates a long trail at the sides due to its large width (as earlier mentioned Henning Almgren did not use an exact copy). However, the problem can be solved if one lifts the fabric c. 40 cm over the shoulders before it is fastened.

Fig. 4 Female costume in southern Germany reconstructed by Naue. After Naue 1894. The remaining 40 cm make a hood (Fig. 5) that could be pulled over the head as a cap (Fig. 6). When one pulled the hood up, the wide and very folded fabric fell forward, which warmed the arms and it also closed at the front with many layers of extra fabric (Fig. 6). Furthermore, it should be noted that the remaining fabric fell naturally along the side of the wearer in two broad, folded flaps, which covered parts of the legs. If the piece of clothing was worn as sketched here one would have achieved a comfortable and versatile outer garment. With the shoulder layer down it enabled both the freedom to move and some degree of airiness; however, if one wrapped it around oneself and pulled the cap up, it was secure and warm and could be used as a sleeping bag at night. It should be pointed out that the garment was most likely worn in other ways as well. Such a simple clothing type has been, and still is, in use in a large number of cultures across the world, as

i.e. DB III M216, 219 & 223.


Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

is also true of the corded skirt.39 It is not unusual that there are a number ways of wearing this type of clothing, and these are essentially dictated by tradition. This again raises the question of comparison between the Skrydstrup and Borum Eshj clothing, particularly regarding the issue of whether they were used as shrouds or represent a common trait of the everyday costume. Its somewhat casual character and the fact that the hems are turned upwards in both Borum Eshj and Skrydstrup supports the former. In support of the latter, however, is the fine fitting of the width, as well as the strains in the fabric, which seem to have occurred while the fabric was sewn together.40 The suggested reconstruction presented here is found in rock art scenes from Bohusln (Glob 1969, fig. 198) as well, in scenes which show a pregnant women with a long garment and a cap, and across from her is a phallic figure wearing a cloak (and therefore armless). In addition to this the often S-shaped figures on the Kivik grave carvings can be interpreted as mourning women, disguised in large outer garments with a hood (Hald 1962:28-29). The last most surprising evidence in support of this reconstruction is found among the textiles in the Egtved burial. The deceased was covered by a rectangular piece of fabric, which measured c. 250/258 cm x 170/192 cm (Broholm & Hald 1935, fig. 64). If this is regarded as originally having been sewn together as a cylindrical piece of clothing that was separated during the funeral, the 160 cm tall girl was forced to bend c. 40 cm to wear this as a shoulder layer. In this case we have an ankle length peplos with a shoulder cap, which was short enough to avoid a train. A number of things support this interpretation. On one of the sides, on the starting border, one can see that it had holes and had been distorted. One could see the remains of thread in the holes. Broholm finds this noticeable as the fabric had otherwise been regularly woven and he sees this as the remains of the fabrics attachment to the loom. I find it more probable that this is evidence of two pieces of fabric that had been sewn together, as in the Borum Eshj and Skrydsrtup examples, as it is identical with those. Due to the redesigning of the exhibition in the National Museum I had the opportunity to examine the textiles more closely in the spring of 1974.41 The following observations were made on this occasion. The depiction in Broholm and Hald (1940, fig. 99) of the stitches as overcast stitches can be seen along the complete starting border, even if many threads are missing. The latter can be seen as the threads have left clearly visible holes that correspond with the thickness of the preserved threads. The hem is fairly regular, with 2.5 cm between every stitch, as can be seen on a longer part of the textile. At one of the corners of the starting borders the stitches are ended with what looks like a closed loop, where the remains of a piece of fabric are observed42, possibly remains from the edge of the textile to which it was sewn. On the other edge, the finishing border is not preserved, and it is cut off irregularly, in many places skewed in the direction of the thread. The cut is fresh, in the sense that it had not started to slip.43 In my view this is evidence that the fabric was cut shortly before the funeral, since the garment was to be used as part of the shroud. One had to cut an appropriately sized piece for this purpose.
I thank mag. art. Henny Harald-Hansen who has given me references showing how such a piece of clothing was used in contemporary cultures. See also H. HaraldHansen Alverdens kldedragter i farver, en dragt geografi 1976. 40 In this case the piece of clothing can be compared with the northern African Haik, which has almost the same dimensions (Marcais 1930). 41 At this time the Early Bronze Age texiles were examined by Elisabeth Munksgrd with the help of conservator Dorthe rsnes and weaver Karen-Hanne Nielsen. I thank E. Munksgrd for permission to participate in this. 42 National Museum photo archive nr. 10183. 43 National Museum photo archive nr. 3889 9737.

Fig. 5 Reconstruction of the covering clothing in the Bronze Age with the hood down.

If this interpretation is accepted, the difference in the costumes that has been noted between the Egtved example on the one hand, and Skrydstrup and Borum Eshj on the other, is eliminated. Instead, these best-preserved Bronze Age female costumes appear almost identical. They represent a common Nordic costume with some margin for local variations in the size and make of the clothing. We have now followed the clothing and jewellery traditions through the thousand years of the Bronze Age and have seen how it remained essentially unchanged. There is reason to believe that this mirrors a similar stability in the social structures, as clothing and jewellery traditions from all times have been important symbols for this. We cannot be certain that the costume described in this article was worn by all women in the Bronze Age, only the social group that is characterized by their manifestation of burying the women in richly furnished graves. It is also possible to point to some rules for the acquisition of the costume.


Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Fig. 6a-b reconstruction of the female covering garment from the Bronze Age, with different positions of the hood pulled up over the head.

From a number of well-documented burials and hoards it is evident that the jewellery was frequently made at one time as a set, i.e. they were made on commission. But when and why? We know that children were not buried with sets of jewellery44 even if their treatment at burial was the same as for the grownups, sometime even accompanying them as sacrifices (Grantzau, Marseen & Riismller 1953). A number of burials of very young women45 do, however, show that a female received the grown-up jewellery set sometime between the ages of 15 and 20.46 This may be seen in connection with the jewellery sets having been made as commissions, and must mean that they were made for an important
Childrens graves exist, for example DB I nrs. 144, 253, 593, 731, 999 & 1192. The number of graves for young people is noteworthy; an analysis from a large Urnfield cemetery in Mecklenburg has shown a very low life expectancy (Keilig 1965). 46 DB I nr. 741:20-25 years old, 881 20 years old, Skrydsrup 20 years old, 758 young individual, 17456: 16-18 years old, Syvhje: 15-20 years old (Nielsen 1952).
44 45

occasion, possibly the transition from childhood to adulthood, or marriage - or both. It will probably never be possible to determine the rules behind the acquisition of the costume with the same certainty. It does, however, point in that direction. It is therefore noticeable that the Egtved girl had a hairnet in the burial as she did not have the right prerequisites, i.e. long hair, for its use (Lomborg 1963). It must therefore demonstrate her right to have that hairstyle, a right that must have been fairly recent (and had not yet resulted in long hair). The coiffure in the Skrydstrup burial with its hairnet must therefore be interpreted as the married womans hairstyle. Concerning the corded skirt, it has been pointed out that it symbolized the dignity of the priestess, as it was worn on the small bronze figurines, which were used in cultic activities; this must, however, be seen as uncertain in the absence of other


Kristian Kristiansen: Female Clothing and Jewellery in the Nordic Bronze Age

evidence. One can reasonably claim, though, that it is natural that the priestesses wore the common female costume. We have to note that although the archaeological evidence indicates a number of rules for the acquisition of the costume, it does not allow for a closer or more precise explanation of these. The following picture of the Bronze Age womans appearance can be sketched: The hairstyles were either short as in Egtved, or long in an elaborate coiffure as in Skrydstrup, and in the Late Bronze Age similar plaits are seen on one of the small figurines from Frdal (Munksgrd 1974, fig. 50c, 88ff). Plaits are previously known from bog finds (Brndested 1962: 277) and from a Period V hoard with female jewellery from northern Germany, from Holtum Geest (Sprockhoff 1932: 21ff). The short-sleeved blouse left a part of the stomach bare and this part was decorated to distinguish the womens sparkling belt jewellery, and in connection with the short corded skirt this could have made a well-shaped women more attractive. Make-up was also added to this (Thrane 1962: 98). Leather shoes protected the feet (Broholm & Hald 1935, fig. 82), cloth could have been wrapped around the legs (Broholm & Hald 1940, figs. 141 & 142) and when it was cold the individual wrapped herself into the folds of a rich outer garment. The Bronze Age woman was therefore dressed for the varied Nordic climate. Conclusions It has been possible to reconstruct the Bronze Age clothing and jewellery traditions due to the fact that it was subjected to rules and regulations that were rooted in the social system. It was also standard for the deceased to be buried in the everyday costume. In this way religious and social practices united in a permanent expression of the societys organization, so it is possible for us today to lift the veil from a part of it. What we see depends on how much we are prepared to see, just as our results are never better than our methodological tools. In this article the goal has been to establish a cultural, historical snapshot of the Bronze Age woman dressed in clothing and jewellery, and other questions had to give way for this. The question about the origin of the costume will, however, finally be touched upon, if briefly, as it has played a role in older literature (Broholm & Hald 1940: 157ff). On this topic it is however only possible to put forward hypotheses and conjectures, as the positive evidence is lacking. A single welldocumented burial find does, however, indicate a local Neolithic origin for the corded skirt (Brndsted 1934, figs. 15 & 17), as one has been able to trace the cut of the blouse to prototypes made of skin (Hald 1950: 355ff). The tradition of using an outer garment attached/closed with pins is, however, rather an influence from western Asia transmitted during the end of the Neolithic and expanded in connection with the oldest European Bronze Age cultures (Milojcic 1955; Schaeffer 1949: chapter II; Piggot 1965, footnote 62).47 Imitations of these pins in bone occur in Scandinavia during the Late Neolithic (Mller 1888, nr. 240-43). The costume therefore seems to reflect the same blending of Oriental and European traditions that characterizes the Bronze Age as a whole.

Kristian Kristiansen: kristian.kristiansen@archaeology. gu.se References

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Counterpoint: Essays in Archaeology and Heritage Studies

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