Bronze Age clothing...

Wool, weaving, spinning, dying, leather, rawhide....

Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 26th, 2010, 12:43 pm

Yup, I'm going one step beyond!!! I'm planning on getting into Bronze Age re-enactment, because it looks fascinating (there's something beautiful about flint and bronze...) and also because it's seriously under-represented. I suppose it can no longer be referred to as 'Historic' Re-enactment, more 'Prehistoric'.

Now, I'm fairly sure I've seen (or heard references to) Bronze Age finds from the Danish bogs. Can anyone point me in the right direction for getting an accurate (or as close as possible) representation for the period? Preferably exact details so I can create patterns as close to the originals as possible...

Thankyou in advance for your help, I'm sure someone (or several people!) can help me here...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Alex Hovorka on July 26th, 2010, 12:47 pm

This website has a huge amount of information and detailed photos of clothing and the corpses. You can zoom in close enough to see the weave in the cloth. Its amazing.
http://oldtiden.natmus.dk/udstillingen/ ... nguage/uk/
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby J Meijer on July 26th, 2010, 12:53 pm

There are quite some pieces of clothing that survived in the tree trunk coffins of that time.
When I was in the National Museum in Kopenhagen last week I got to see a couple of them, including the one with the Egtved girl, but also two (or was it three) coffins with male bodies. What might be the most 'typical' garment is a kind of sleeveless tunic with just one short of shoulderstrap. There are bound to be decent pictures of that somewhere on the internet, or at least some idealized paintings where you can see them be worn..

There's a fantastic book by Margarete Haldt which's called "Costumes of the Bronze Age in Denmark" if I'm not mistaken.
If you're serious about it, I highly recommend this book. And that's an understatement.
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby J Meijer on July 26th, 2010, 12:58 pm

Oh, and having seen both the Bronze Age caps themselves and drawings of their construction..
Be afraid, be very afraid..
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 26th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Oh dear Joost, am I going to regret this... I'll try and find one of these one shoulder strap tunics, but if anyone can point me in the right direction. The trouble with that site Alex (though it is amazing!) is that it doesn't show the garments individually, so it's difficult to work out how the tunics fit. And a kidney shaped cloak? Kind of semi circular with curved in edges instead of corners?
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby J Meijer on July 26th, 2010, 8:18 pm

I've just checked my books and did a bit of surfing on the web..

Image

Image

I can't make out the details, but to give you a general idea of what I meant with the tunic-like-thing (or should we just call it a dress?) and what you might want to aim for (if you'd go for a 'continental' appearance, I know next to nothing about Bronze Age England..).

I found some patterns for Bronze Age shoes that were found in the Netherlands in one of my books. If I get anywhere near a copy machine before the 5th of August, I'll make a copy of the page for you. Don't expect much, they're 'bagshoes', more or less. Nothing complicated.
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 27th, 2010, 3:04 am

Does look like a dress, doesn't it? There's no clothing evidence for Iron Age Britain, let alone Bronze Age, so I'm planning on using continental evidence, as I'm fairly sure styles would work across Europe, and we have continental styles of metalwork and pottery in Britain from the time.

As you say, doesn't show the exact detail, but it's better than most, and gives a good example of what goes on at the shoulders. Don't suppose you know who those guys are, or what group they're with, do you? If I could find a way to make contact they might be able to show me patterns...

Once again, many thanks Joost! I can already see myself trying to explain to my girlfriend (and little kids t shows!) that I'm not a cross dresser, that's how Bronze Age man dressed...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby J Meijer on July 27th, 2010, 5:05 am

I have no idea who they are, no.
But, there's still hope! I know just the person to contact about this.
As soon as I get my hands on more information, which is quite likely, I'll let you know.
(I was planning on making a Bronze Age outfit myself for quite some time now, time to really get to work..)
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 27th, 2010, 7:44 am

I've still got to finish my bloody IA kit.. lol. Still, at least I can research the BA while finishing my IA. Seen some of those bronze shields... wow! Interesting how the round shield went out of fashion in the IA only to come back in again during the Dark Ages... Anyway, got to get clothing sorted first!!!

Look forward to hearing more from you Joost, I'm sure you'll be a far better source of info than myself, but if youre looking into doing BA as well I'll pass anything I find onto you.
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Sarah Hare on July 27th, 2010, 10:14 pm

Dru, there is a fantastic book which has wonderful descriptions and some illustrations on Bronze Age clothing and life. It is called The Age of Stonehenge by Colin Burgess. There are so much more advanced and sophisticated than many people give them credit for! This book shattered a lot of my preconceived ideas about Bronze Age clothing and the period in general.

I also have a fascination in this time of history and plan to make a replica of the Egtved Girl's clothing.
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 28th, 2010, 3:44 am

Sarah, cheers, I'll look that up and try and get hold of it. Shattering preconceptions is what I'm all about with these presentations. Give the public something to remember and a better understanding of our prehistoric ancestors...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Andrew Byrne on July 28th, 2010, 12:48 pm

Dru Durman wrote: Don't suppose you know who those guys are, or what group they're with, do you? If I could find a way to make contact they might be able to show me patterns...


The two in the top photograph are John Looney and Billy Mag Fhloinn from Ireland. Both can be contacted on http://www.livinghistory.ie, where the former runs the site.
Both give their input into the topic of Bronze Age clothing here : http://www.livinghistory.ie/viewtopic.p ... &sk=t&sd=a, and here: http://www.livinghistory.ie/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=366

The latter is with the group Mogh Roith, who are based in and around Co. Clare (and Co. Limerick, I think) and this group portrays Bronze AGe society. I would contact them about any queries to do with kit. They are a very well researched group. Here is their website http://sites.google.com/site/moghroithlivinghistory/
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 29th, 2010, 7:18 am

And BANG! Once again Kelticos comes through with the goods! Thanks everyone! Any more help is definitely welcome. It's going to be a while before I throw myself into BA, but I'm beginning research. I still want to add to my IA representation, and I don't want to start doing BA shows until I've got a much greater understanding of the period, but I'm beginning to see it as my duty to get into it.

I've been to too many museums and seen artists representations of BA life with completely the wrong clothes, hell I've seen that of IA pictures... It really annoys me when people come into a museum or a setting in which they expect to be taught and walk away with wrong information in their heads. Obviously we can never get a 100% accurate representation of IA or BA life, but when we have such good evidence for things like clothing it's criminal to not show it. So, as mentioned before, I see it as my duty to go out there and break up pre- and mis-conceptions, even if (or perhaps especially because) it means getting accused of cross dressing...

But before I can do that, I need to get my own conceptions as accurate as possible. Yes, maybe I take my responsibilities as a re-enactor far too seriously... *redface*
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Mark Owen Headlee on July 29th, 2010, 10:07 am

Matt Amt is doing Bronze Age Military:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/bronze.html
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on July 30th, 2010, 7:14 am

I'm looking Bronze Age British, that looks slightly more mediterranean, especially with the reference to Hoplites...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Mark Owen Headlee on July 30th, 2010, 9:12 am

I meant the link to be more a source for suppliers and makers of period items...not to focus on the east...sorry!
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Matthew Amt on July 31st, 2010, 12:31 pm

Avete!

Guess I better chime in, here! I'm Matthew Amt, and that's me in the second photo above (gray tunic w/ 2 spears). An excellent source for Bronze Age information is the Bronze Age Center:

http://s8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/index.php?

There's a pinned topic in the European Topics section about clothing information, most of which (of course) comes from the Danish oak coffin finds. That's what my own tunic is based on, but there has been some debate about the shoulder straps, one versus two. Recently, Steven Peffley kindly got me some photocopies from "Costumes of the Bronze Age in Denmark", THE book on the oak coffin finds. (By HC Broholm and Margrethe Hald, 1940.) I went back over the parts about the men's tunics, and the authors believe that they originally each had 2 shoulder straps, probably leather which did not survive. In one case a pair of small disc brooches were found just below the shoulders, as if fastening such straps. Their description of the exact arrangement is a little confusing, and while they show a nice drawing of one of the tunics all laid out flat (with half a dozen small odd-shaped pieces patched together to form the top of it), the photos of the whole thing reconstructed are always covered by the darn cloak! Grrrr.... There does still seem to be some debate, though, so I would say that either one shoulder strap or two is correct.

SO I basically made mine a rectangle, with a pair of wool straps, basically like a sleeveless bathrobe arrangement. The body of the original was more hide-shaped, kind of, though part of that may be due to stretching. But for lack of anything better, I figure this will work for most of Europe for early to middle Bronze Age. Just change a few little fittings and the weapons and shields to change location.

When I first built my Bronze Age web page, I was indeed thinking mostly Mycenaean, and since it was just a little thing on the side I simply attached it to my existing Greek Hoplite site. Made sense at the time. Of course, since then I have done almost nothing with my hoplite kit, while my Bronze Age gear has exploded into 5 or 6 distinct impressions with scattered tidbits of several others, and plans for much more. For my Late Bronze Age kits, Urnfield or early Hallstaat, I go with rectangular tunics, either sleevless or with long sleeves (depending on the weather), and a slit neck. Not a lot different from the basics of Iron Age clothing, really. Wrapped rectangular or tubular leggings if needed, foot wraps, rectangular or trapezoidal cloak. I would LOVE to build a little loom to weave a few belts and straps, at least, because some fascinating fragments have been found.

I tend to lean towards the Late Bronze Age most of the time, since that's where all the spiffy armor and helmets and shields are. It *is* possible to do a full Bronze Age impression with virtually no bronze at all, but where's the fun of that? And while I have been perusing this board lately to firm up a decent Iron Age Celtic impression (to complement my usual Roman look), I strongly urge all of you to cast aside your silly ferrous fetishes and return to BRONZE!! Iron is just a fad, really. Do you *like* rust?

I hope that gets you started!

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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby mante vd heuvel on July 31st, 2010, 12:43 pm

Matthew Amt wrote:Do you *like* rust?


well...have you ever seen a really oxidated piece of bronze...just as bad I think *wink*

Conclusion: As long as we don't do stone age re-enactment, we'll all have to clean and oil our equipment...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Tim Edwards on July 31st, 2010, 4:40 pm

Dru,

The person I would speak to is Jeroen Zuiderwijk:

http://1501bc.com/index_en.html

I've met him at Archeon numerous times, and he is a very pleasant, patient and extremely knowledgeable chap.

If you need to look through Hald's book, there's a copy in Exeter University library....which is open to the public ... which has three large photocopiers.. .eherrm...

For BA / IA interchange - I'm a big fan of Stefan Jarochinski's work, although the Hallstatt tunics don't leave much to the imagination!!:

http://www.hallstattzeit.de/
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Matthew Amt on July 31st, 2010, 8:21 pm

mante vd heuvel wrote:well...have you ever seen a really oxidated piece of bronze...just as bad I think *wink*

Conclusion: As long as we don't do stone age re-enactment, we'll all have to clean and oil our equipment...


Well, yes, it's true that bronze helmets are fingerprint magnets! But I dunno, you kind of expect that with bronze, and it doesn't seem as bad to show up with a bronze helmet that's a little tarnished as it is to have rust on something. Personal preference, maybe. Yeah, we oughta give it all up for stone!

Oh, and What Tim Said. Jeroen is great, and he's on the Bronze Age Center as well.

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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Folkert van Wijk on August 1st, 2010, 1:28 pm

Tim Edwards wrote:Dru,

The person I would speak to is Jeroen Zuiderwijk:

http://1501bc.com/index_en.html

I've met him at Archeon numerous times, and he is a very pleasant, patient and extremely knowledgeable chap.

If you need to look through Hald's book, there's a copy in Exeter University library....which is open to the public ... which has three large photocopiers.. .eherrm...

For BA / IA interchange - I'm a big fan of Stefan Jarochinski's work, although the Hallstatt tunics don't leave much to the imagination!!:

http://www.hallstattzeit.de/


...and his shop http://www.noricum.de...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on August 2nd, 2010, 2:49 am

Oh wow! Sorry guys, I've been away for a few days at Butser with the Vicus, and discover that you've posted more wonderful stuff! Sweet. Give me time to process it all, it looks amazing!

Matthew, is the rectangle/bathrobe set up just wrapped around and fixed with a belt and the fastenings for the shoulder straps or is it actually sewn up?

I suppose since I'm looking at Dartmoor I should find out from the local archaeologists when the most active period was and aim to reproduce that. Might as well keep it local since it was the local archaeology that inspired me...

Thanks again to everyone, I'll probably post more in response when I've properly investigated all the links...
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Matthew Amt on August 2nd, 2010, 2:16 pm

Dru Durman wrote:Matthew, is the rectangle/bathrobe set up just wrapped around and fixed with a belt and the fastenings for the shoulder straps or is it actually sewn up?


The front opening is just fastened with a belt. On mine, I pin the top corner as well, or it flops down. I have also sewn my shoulder straps in place, whereas they seem to be pinned at least in the front, at least on one of the originals.

I suppose since I'm looking at Dartmoor I should find out from the local archaeologists when the most active period was and aim to reproduce that. Might as well keep it local since it was the local archaeology that inspired me...


Oh, COOL. I really envy you folks on that side of the Pond who have actual sites to play on! I remember visiting Dartmoor back about 1984, and being thrilled to see the house foundations and the visible ridge-and-furrow in the fields! Great place to play, oh, yeah.

Happy to help, have fun!

Matthew
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Mari C on August 27th, 2010, 3:48 pm

My ex has reenacted the British Bronze Age for a few years now. Here he is playing with a reconstruction of the famous Bronze Age bow in the British Museum (and yes, that is a real tattoo on his arm *cool* )
Regarding clothing, I have just the book but its currently not to hand. The main pointers are that in the summer men wore kilts, in the winter you would need to look at the clothing of Oetzi - think leather leggings like native Americans. Oh, and leather loin cloths were worn all year round *wink*
The group's website is currently being rebuilt but here's a link to an old page with contact details:
http://www.bronze-age-reenactment.com/page3.htm
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Re: Bronze Age clothing...

Postby Dru Durman on August 28th, 2010, 10:33 am

Thanks Mari! I'll look into that!
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