Sunday, January 28, 2024

An Excellent Lucet Article

Common modern lucet.

"Lucet" (or "lucette") is the name given, at least in English-language sources, to a type of device used to turn yarn into cord.  The photograph to the right, from Wikipedia, shows a type of lucet that is common nowadays, but other forms have been proposed.

10th c. "lucet" find.
I became interested in lucets because it has been often proposed (though not proven) that the Viking cultures used them to make cord.  While fork-shaped finds of bone have been made in Viking contexts, none have been, to my knowledge, associated with cord production.  The only type of device arguably linked to cord-making is a small tube with posts or prongs at the top (such as the second image from Wikipedia, a 10th century find from northern France). 

Today, I found a long article about lucets that was written by an archaeologist. The article is called "Brief History of the Lucet Braiding Tool." It can be found on the "LRCrafts website and read here.  It systematically discusses the evidence for lucets, complete with numerous photographs, some I have not seen before (including some from Southern Europe).  It even includes an instructional video on how to use the fork-shaped lucet shown above!
I am looking forward to reading this article in full, and I suggest that readers interested in the lucet, as well as in Viking and medieval clothing history read it as well.

Monday, December 11, 2023

New Wonders

Now that our local election is over (don't ask) and I have less pressing law business, maybe I can resume at least posting about historical costume again.

Just today, I found a wonderful website; a collection of articles, in English and Czech, about various issues relating to Northern European culture and costume.  It's called Project Forlǫg and you can find it here.  It's aimed at reenactors, but is of interest to historical costumers and is useful to anyone interested in the early medieval period in northern Europe.  Further, it's possible to search for articles on particular topic.  Topics that I have looked at so far include life expectancy; women's ages for first and last childbirths; notes on early medieval women's dress; and articles on period armor and weaponry.  Some of the articles are bibliographies of articles about a particular issue.

Nor have the organizers limited their outreach to that website.  The following text appears on the website's Editorial Board subpage, describing the resources they are making available to reenactors and researchers.  I reproduce it here with its original links intact:

By this, we would like to thank you for visiting the project that tries to shed light on various topics connected with Early Medieval period and historical reenactment.
We are personally devoted to Viking Age studies for more than fifteen years. Our internet journal is registered under ISSN 2788-3000, DOI: and is archived by the National Library of the Czech Republic as part of the project.
Articles presented on the websites oscillate between scientific and educational or popular style. Our priorities are plainness, factuality and humility to sources. Our results are based on the combinations of different sources. The primary goal of the project is the popularization, myth-busting and constructive criticism. Secondly, we aim to create a compendium of information about the Early Middle Ages. We hold the opinion that the reenactment and science can cooperate and mutually enrich each other. You can read the code of this project by clicking on the link.
As we think it is important to discuss about the past and to find the consensus, we encourage you to write comments here or at Viking Age Facebook group. The list of articles can be seen in Sitemap. In case you would like to support the project, please continue to Sponsorship. We also offer those interested the opportunity to use our physical library, the catalog of which can be found here.

I plan to check their website for new material as often as I can, and urge those of my readers who are interested in the early medieval period to do likewise.  Thanks to Alfrun of A Wandering Elf for posting about this website; that is how I learned about it. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Fashioning The Viking Age

Happy September!

During the summer I was too busy to think about historic costume, let alone blog about it.  

So it was a delightful experience to learn from the University of Copenhagen's website, that the ongoing Center for Textile Research project on Viking Age clothing (called "Fashioning the Viking Age") has led to the publication of two books so far:  "Fibres, Tools & Textiles," and "From Analysis to Reconstruction." Both are available for free download on this website.  Alternatively, one can order paper copies of the books (though not for free).  

I haven't had time to read either book yet, but they are wonderfully illustrated with full-color photographs of actual finds as well as reconstructions.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

New Ancient Rome Channel

The video embedded in this post is from a newish YouTube channel called Imperium Romanum. The presenters are based in the Netherlands, and plan to increase their production of videos in both quantity and quality and to cover all aspects of ancient Rome, including clothing and food.   

Above, I have chosen to show you a short documentary-style video about the clothing of ancient Roman soldiers and gives a good overview of the factors that drove Roman military clothing design.  Check the channel out if you have any interest in ancient Rome; the videos are short and fun to watch and contain good information.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Stone Age Fabric

Happy Easter!  It's been a long time since I've had time to blog and the energy to blog at the same moment.

Today I found an interesting article from about cloth specimens found at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic (New Stone Age) cite located in the area now call Turkey. Çatalhöyük was inhabited about 8,000-9,000 years ago.  Lise Bender Jørgensen, a respected textile archaeologist, recently published an article, along with other researchers, in Antiquity, an archaeological journal, about research into Çatalhöyük fabric finds, the oldest woven fabric finds currently known.  

The research showed that the textiles found at Çatalhöyük were made from plant fiber.  Interestingly, the plant fiber found turned out not to be flax or ramie.  Instead, several of the specimens found turn out to have been woven from bast fiber from oak trees.  Oak timber was used for building construction in Çatalhöyük, and apparently the inhabitants derived fiber from the oak bark for their clothing as well.  

The article may be read here.  I commend it to my readers' attention.  I do not know at present how to find the Antiquity article on the Internet, and I cannot afford to obtain the relevant issue.  If I do locate the Jørgensen article I will revise this post.

EDIT:  No, it didn't take long to track down how to obtain a copy of the article. Cambridge University Press is making the Antiquity article available on line for $26.00 USD here. I may wait until my finances improve to buy myself a copy.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

One Afternoon Tutorials--Miscellaneous Accessories

Today's collection of One Afternoon Tutorials focuses on  a few specialized accessories, such as Victorian watch fobs.  They are short projects mainly because they make small items and don't require a lot of expensive materials to create. 

Cravats.  A cravat is a neckcloth used to give varying looks to suits, mostly during the Victorian periods. The tutorial on this item, by Folkwear, the pattern company, comes with a quick bit of history for the item. 

Ribbons for Victorian Shoes.  Try the link here.

Suffragette Sashes. It is possible to buy these from vendors on Etsy, but once of those vendors made a nice tutorial on how to make one for yourself.

Victorian Watch Fobs.  This is the kind of fob that consists of a ribbon, in satin or velvet, that is about three-quarters of an inch (about 1.9 cm) and about 3 inches (381 cm) long.  They require inexpensive metal fittings.  Consult the blog of The Pragmatic Costumer, here.

I have a few ideas for posts, but mostly I haven't had time to sit down and develop them.  Hopefully, I can do that next month. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Shawls and cloaks, part 1

Today, I discovered that Hilde Thunem has published the beginning of a new paper, this time on Viking era shawls and cloaks worn by women.  That paper can be read and/or downloaded here.

The portion of the paper that Hilde has completed is a description of the various archaeological finds that appear to be pieces from a shawl or cloak, along with descriptions and pictures, and explanations of the reasons why they nave been so categorized.  The harder part, picking through the known information to arrive at conclusions upon which to base clothing reconstructions, is not yet written.  Based on Hilde's other articles, though, it will have been worth waiting for.  

I am still reading through the completed parts of the paper and already have learned many things.  Hilde's work should not be missed by anyone interested in Viking era clothing.


P.S.  Sorry to have fallen behind on updating this blog, but I had a good reason:  my husband was diagnosed in June with stomach cancer.  Fortunately, it was a type of tumor that is very slow growing, and had not spread.  He had surgery in July to remove the tumor, and is now recovering well.