Katrin Kania blogged Thursday about some fascinating archaeological finds at a site in Austria. During renovations of a historic castle, substantial number of different artifacts, ranging in estimated date from the 12th through 18th centuries, were found in the fillings of one of the spandrels of the building's vaulted ceiling.
|Scan of photo by Beatrix Nutz|
|A subligar I made for myself|
Ms. Nutz's article is in German, which I don't read, but Google Translate allowed me to pick out some interesting details about this undergarment from the article. The undergarment found in the castle, like mine, is made from linen, but with "three layers" instead of one. It was dated to sometime after 1440, based upon the age of the castle and the other findings, and confirmed by carbon-14 dating.
Why do I find this garment so fascinating? Because it suggests that perhaps the Roman style of underwear--consisting of a subligar for the lower body and a mammillare, or supporting band, for the breasts--not only became used in Northern Europe, but may have continued in use throughout the Middle Ages. Who knows? Perhaps Viking women used similar underwear. As I have mentioned previously in this blog, at least one Birka find includes a small scrap of plain linen beneath what appears to be a pleated linen shift. Perhaps that plain scrap was part of a breastband.
For now, I can only hope that some future find turns up a subligar in a Viking context.