History

Iron Age Fashion: Photos

A boat neck sweater made of warm wool and woven in diamond twill was recovered from a Norwegian glacier.

This tunic was found randomly bundled up in an hunting area on the Norwegian Lendbreen glacier at 6,560 feet above the sea level. Radiocarbon dating established it was made between 230 and 390 A.D.

Relatively short and constructed from a simple cut, the greenish-brown tunic would have fitted a slender man about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. It featured a boat neck, had no buttons or fastenings, but was simply drawn over the head like a sweater.

The pre-Viking tunic showed hard wear and tear and had been mended with two patches on the reverse side.

The tunic is woven in a weave called diamond twill that was popular over large parts of northern Europe at that time. The image shows a detail of the sleeve fabric (left) and the pattern of a section of the irregular diamond twill (right).

The tunic is not the only textile item recovered from the Norwegian ice patches. Approximately 50 fragments await dating and analysis. As global warming progresses, more can be expected.