Around 1380 BCE, a woman born in the Dark Forest region of what would one day be known as Germany, died and was laid to rest near the present day village of Egtved, Denmark, in a large coffin made from a single hollowed log. She was buried with several possessions and the cremated remains of a child. Perhaps most important to archaeology, she was buried wearing a woolen corded string skirt, a short woolen blouse, a woolen woven belt and several pieces of bronze jewelry. Nearly 3300 years, her burial was unearthed where it had been buried. Archaeologists were stunned to find that her outfit had survived and was nearly intact.
The full outfit worn by Egtved Girl. C.1380, early Nordic Bronze Age
Roberto Fortuna & Kira Ursem, Nationalmuseet, Danmark (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DO-4368-Egtvedpigens_dragt.jpg), DO-4368-Egtvedpigens dragt, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/legalcode
A member of the Fredericksburg Spinning and Weaving guild, I, intend to fully recreate this amazingly preserved early Nordic Bronze Age outfit using only period tools and techniques. The National Museum of Denmark has graciously provided high-resolution imagery and technical documents of the outfit, given the inability for me to travel to Denmark to see it in person. As the project unfolds, updates will be provided to the guild and posted in the newsletter, including methods, photographs, and other technical documentation to provide the group with insight into how this amazingly well preserved prehistoric outfit was likely made.
The entire outfit is made from wool using principally a tabby weave, though some felting was also performed on the tassels of the belt and skirt. Interestingly, the blouse is not quite long enough to fully cover the abdomen creating an open midriff. A woolen blouse may not be cool enough for a warm day when the otherwise drafty corded string skirt would, making the purpose behind the outfit a mystery. Was it ceremonial? Did the wearer simply prefer the aesthetic? Interestingly, a bronze statue from the same time period and region depicts a person arched backward and wearing a similar corded skirt, but without the blouse.
Early Nordic Bronze Age bronze figure wearing corded string skirt.
Roberto Fortuna (https://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/asset/14039)14039-Human figure, Countess swings, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/legalcode
Currently, the first steps of the project involve examining the high-resolution scans of the original artifacts, scientific data to learn how the garment was made and make plans for the final construction. The next steps involve sourcing the closest wool to the original garment and creating several model garments using modern materials to determine the exact construction of the blouse and skirt.
An artists impression of Egtved Girl wearing her outfit. The open midriff, blonde hair and circular bronze piece just below this are accurately represented.