Recreating the Skjoldehamn textile finds

I am forever curious about excavated textiles. The first thing I look for in a museum, any museum, is excavated garments and shoes. It fascinates me to no end.

In 2019, I finished my Golden Egg project in Drachenwald and it was so inspiring. For this reason, I have decided to embark on a new research & recreating adventure: the Skjoldehamn clothes.

I have been doing Viking re-enactment outside the SCA since 1994 and one popular item has always been the Skjoldehamn hood. Back then, I never really looked into it. I had enough handmade authentic looking garb already.

When I re-joined the SCA in 2011, I became more curious about the Skjoldehamn clothing because, to my surprise, a rumour had begun to spread that the garments COULD have belonged to a woman. Wait? REALLY?

The Skjoldehamn body was found in a bog near Andøya in Norway in 1936. The body was found wearing a hood (kaprun), outer shirt (kofte), under shirt (skjorte), trousers (bukser), a belt, ankle wrappings (ankelkluter) and ankle straps (ankelsurringer), socks (lester) and shoes (sko).  The body was wrapped in a blanket (teppe). To this day, it remains a mystery whether the body died in a sacrifice or in a battle.  

Back in 2008, MA archaeology student  Dan Halvard Løvlid, from the University of Bergen in Norway, got interested in writing a marvellous thesis, which formed the basis of a new complete empirical study of the Skjoldehamn costume. 

New study by Dan H. Løvlid and his team showed the garments are dated to approximately 1050 AD. You can read the English version here; the Norwegian version can be found here.

Art by Berit Løvlid

I get help with the Norwegian translation from Lady Ekaterina Vasili ( and Lady Emoni de la Fère.

I will recreate most of the garb set: hood, outer shirt, under shirt, trousers, belt and socks.  

I will not recreate the burial blanket; I am still alive after all…. Joking aside, I have a warm enough cloak already that fits with the style and era. The perks of doing re-enactment for a very long time!

The second challenge that goes with this project is to make something out of thrifted fabric. I want to spend no more than €40. Not only will this hopefully help a newcomer who wants to test the waters before investing, it might also help a longterm member without breaking the bank. Let’s not forget  the environmental & sustainability perspective! Recycle! RECYCLE! Help Mother Earth a bit.

And now? I am off to the thrift shop!

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