A reconstruction of the Pskov Viking garments found in 2006.

Pskov is in north-west Russia, where a rescue excavation recovered this exciting find. Fragments of the original linen and silk outfit, with the pair of brooches, were found in a birch bark container within a wooden burial chamber, which had been looted in antiquity. The grave is dated mid C10th-early C11th. The excavators interpreted the striped panel as the front of the outer garment, but the figure in the reconstruction drawing has to hold its arms out straight at the sides to accommodate the width of the panel. This does not seem feasible in real life, but the dimensions of the fabric and the placing of the loops for the brooches work without modification if the striped panel forms the back of the garment.
This example shows that even where the entire top line of the garment has been preserved, it is still not clear how the dress was worn when it has not been used to dress the corpse. It is clear too that the pair of brooches found in many high status Viking women’s graves may have fastened a variety of styles of outer garment.

The archaeological textile find was published in the North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X by Oxbow Books in 2010.

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