Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Sigtuna Bag

I have found a photograph of the wooden frame that inspired the frames on my Viking bag.

The photograph belongs to Tomáš Vlasatý. Tomáš runs a website called Projekt Forlog, which features articles, mostly in Czech but sometimes in English, about various aspects of Viking age material culture.  Google Translate does a pretty good job with the Czech articles, and I commend them to the attention of any Viking era enthusiasts among my readers.  Readers interested in helping to support Tomáš's research can donate on the Projekt Forlog page or on the project's Patreon page, here.

Tomáš confirmed that the Sigtuna frames are 480 mm (48 cm or nearly 19 inches) long.  He also told me that the frames are in Sigtuna Museum in Sweden, and still have textile fragments clinging to them.  Because he was clearly unhappy with the fact that the chart I found had ended up on Pinterest without his permission, I asked only to link to the photograph of the actual Sigtuna frames, which you can see here. He obtained the information from Anders Söderberg of the closed Facebook group “Doba vikinská – Viking Age”.  The textile bits clinging to the frame look like the remnants of a coarse wool twill.

So my frames are based upon the Sigtuna find and are very small in comparison with the originals.  However, finds from Birka and Hedeby include designs made in different sizes, so it is not impossible that a small version of the Sigtuna frames might have existed.   But next time, I'll be a bit more cautious and do more checking before taking a casual representation about a "based on a find's" provenance for granted.

EDIT (7/29/2018):  It occurred to me that the size of the original Sigtuna frames and the number of slots in them shows that those frames had to have been used for quite a large bag.  A smaller bag can be attached to frames by sturdy stitching, but a large one that will be holding a number of heavy articles must be attached to the frames more solidly.


  1. How disappointing to find out the size difference right after you finished your bag! But as you say, they may very well have come in different sizes in Sigtuna as well.

    The size of the Sigtuna frames has potential for a lot of different uses. Shopping bags, "carpet bags" for traveling, or maybe for storing/carrying tools or ongoing craft projects. Here's hoping that a depiction of a bag will surface eventually, to give us an idea of the bag's original proportions!

  2. I, for one, would love to see more information about framed bags in the Viking Age.

    The interesting thing to me about the Sigtuna frames is that the scraps cling ing to them are clearly textiles. That suggests to me that tools were not what that bag was made to carry, but "craft projects" are an interesting possibility.