A boat neck sweater made of warm wool and woven in diamond twill was a dominating fashion trend among reindeer hunters 1,700 years ago, according to researchers who have investigated an extremely well preserved Iron Age tunic found two years ago under melting snow in Norway. Announced last March, the finding has been detailed in the current issue of the journal Antiquity.
“Due to global warming, rapid melting of snow patches and glaciers is taking place in the mountains of Norway as in other parts of the world, and hundreds of archaeological finds emerge from the ice each year,” Marianne Vedeler, from the University of Oslo, Norway, and Lise Bender Jørgensen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, wrote.
Found in an hunting area on the Norwegian Lendbreen glacier at 6,560 feet above the sea level, the well-preserved tunic was made between 230 and 390 A.D., according to radiocarbon dating...
Examinations with a scanning electron microscope and light microscopy revealed that two different fabrics, made of lamb’s wool or wool from adult sheep, are present in the tunic.
Indeed, the fabric was deliberately and evenly mottled, the effect obtained using two light and two dark brown alternating wool threads.
Relatively short and constructed from a simple cut, the greenish-brown tunic would have fit a slender man about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. It featured a boat neck, had no buttons or fastenings, but was simply drawn over the head like a sweater...
“Currently, approximately 50 fragments await dating and analysis and, as global warming progresses, more can be expected. They promise to shed further light on dress, textile design and textile production in the first millennium AD — and earlier,” the researchers said.
Click here for an Iron Age Fashion photo gallery.