Thursday, April 16, 2009

So What Are NESATs Anyway?

It occurred to me that anyone who is not familiar with costume from before the year 1600 C.E., or who is not accustomed to examining the archaeological literature for costume and textile-related information, may not know what I meant by referring to "NESAT X" in my last post.

"NESAT" is an acronym for a semi-regularly conducted international conference on archaeological textiles; it expands as "North European Symposium on Archaeological Textiles". The first one was held in 1982 and involved only a bare handful of scholars. the conference has grown significantly in size since then.

The papers presented at each NESAT are peer-reviewed, scholarly papers about archaeological textile finds (usually, but not always, clothing-related) from various locations in Northern Europe, dating from antiquity to as late as the 18th century. Some time after the end of the conference, the papers are published as a printed hardcover or paperback volume, depending on the publisher. (The conference has had different hosts, and the written volume different publishers, over the years.) About 60% of the papers typically are in English, with the rest in German. They have charts galore and black-and-white photos and illustrations. They are not always easy reading, but they are highly informative, and often contain information that is currently available nowhere else.

The most recent one, NESAT X, was held last May in Copenhagen: the website is here. The hardcover volume for that conference is expected to be published this October and will be carried by David Brown Book Company/Oxbow Books and Amazon. The abstracts for the papers can be found here.

For anyone interested in Viking age and early medieval costume, this volume in particular will be well-worth reading, and I am looking forward to doing so.

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