About my garb, part 1

This is post is long overdue. Well, I think it is. Not that I *need* to explain myself but garb is quite fundamental for your persona. I have already dedicated a post to the name Ava van Allecmere, which you can read here. It seems only fair I now write about why my garb is late iron age/early medieval.

When I returned to the SCA in 2011 I really wanted to stay close to home with the name and the garb. My persona’s name is from the 10th century and luckily I already knew quite a bit about the early middle ages in terms of clothing. For the first few years my garb was generic medieval, if you will, there was a huge lack of direction but that is actually ok. But then in 2015 a museum called Huis van Hilde opened its doors and that gave me basically everything I needed.

The museum focuses on the archaeology of the province of Noord Holland. Not only are excavated pots, swords and other household goods on display, they have an awesome collection of fully clothed human figures, recreated after excavated bones. This in itself is spectacular, simply because the area is below sea level and was, at times, often heavily flooded. Most of the ancient treasures simply disappears. There certainly isn’t a wealth of excavated material, but we must make do with what is found.

The map on the left is where my home province is situated in The Netherlands. The map on the right shows you the province in detail and in red our capitol Amsterdam, in green Alkmaar, where I was born… I will stop saying that, you know that by now.

The blue dots are the towns of Velsen, Castricum, Heiloo, Uitgeest and Hippolytushoef where excavated human remains combined with some splendid textile finds, resulted in the basis for my garb. Allow me to tell you more!

  1. The first one, is the body of a young child found in Uitgeest around 1983. Carbon dating tells us he was buried around 100 b.c., so we are talking late Iron Age. The dna confirmed it was a boy, who was given the name Aak. He was about 9 years old and 1,30m tall. It is unknown what caused his death. Here you can see the boy on display at the museum and my version of his tunic.
The boy’s skeleton found in 1983

Although there weren’t any textiles found in this particular grave, the costume department at the museum created a tunic for him. I am not sure which examples they used, it is possible this creation is based on the Lendbreen tunic as this is close in age, but much further geographically.

Now, bear with me. The Frisians, expert weavers from the 7th century onwards, were know for their *Pallia Fresonica* which even made Charlemagne greedy. This tunic is basic enough to be somewhat credible, but I am still looking for evidence. That said, even I have to wear something at events, so on the right you can see my version. I am finishing the outfit with a copy of the Huldremose skirt, which is from the same era. This photo dates from 2018, I have since lost this skirt and am in the process of making a new & better one!

2. In 1972 archaeologists found traces of a battle between Romans and Frisians in the town of Velsen. It is known from historical sources that the Frisians revolted against the Romans in the year 28 c.e. In the year 47 the Romans left the province for good. Based on finds discovered in the immediate area, one of the warriors was reconstructed this way. On the right, my copy of a blue wool tunic (albeit a bit vague…). Again, we can see the beautiful plaid weaving Pallia Fresonica.

3. Again in the town of Velsen, a thigh bone of a female was found in what used to be a bog. The remains of a willow tree were found as well and archeologists suspect the tree was sacred in honour of the Germanic god Wodan. Several artefacts were found as well, like pots, animal bones, antlers, a bronze bracelet and a cloak pin, all dated between 100-200 C.E.

The thigh bone was used to recreate the woman, and her face… no that isn’t me, but she looks a lot like one of my archaeology friends! The dress is made after a find in Germany from the same era. On the right you see 2 of my dresses, linen and wool.

Part 2 will be posted next week!

Source: Huis van Hilde

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