Viking women dressed provocatively

February 15th, 2008 - 3:38 pm ICT by admin  

Stockholm, Feb 15 (ANI): Women who lived in the major Viking settlement called Birka in the 9th and 10th centuries had a provocative dressing sense, suggests a new study.

The new finding contradicts the previous belief that Viking womens dress style was modest, according to archaeologist Annika Larsson.

Earlier it was believed that Viking ladies wore a long garment held up by braces, made of square pieces of wool whose front and backsides were contained with a belt. The characteristic decorative circular buckles, a common find at many Viking-era gravesites, were believed to have been worn at the collarbone.

The excavations which were done way back in the 1800s showed that this is not correct, and that the buckles instead were placed centrally over each breast. The traditional interpretation is that the buckles fell down to the waist after the body decomposed, but that is a prudish reconstruction, The Local quoted archaeologist Larsson, as saying.

Larssons theory is partly based 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 kilometres West of Stockholm.

The (Russian) discovery is totally inconsistent with the way the Viking women are usually depicted. For example, that part of the garment which was assumed to be the front is too broad. I dont think it was a front, but was instead worn behind like a train, Larsson said.

Larssons theory that the well-dressed Viking womans garment was open at the front and had a train is supported by a gilded bronze figure discovered in the county of Uppsala.

One might imagine that the Christian church had some misgivings about a style of dress which emphasized the breast and in addition revealed the front of the linen blouse underneath. It is also possible that this outfit was associated with pagan rituals and was therefore forbidden, Larsson said.

The exhibit showing the new view about clothing in the age of the Vikings opened at Uppsala Universitys Gustavium Museum on Feb 15, and will continue until September 24th. (ANI)

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