In 2010 the remains of a woman were excavated in my birth town Alkmaar, about 40 km north of Amsterdam. She was buried in a mass grave with four men, one child and three young adults. The Alkmaar lady was between 26 and 35 years old. Her bones showed that she was used to hard physical labour and she was about 1m69 tall. Because of the place of excavation, there is reason to believe this lady was killed by the Spaniards during the 1573 siege of Alkmaar.
In the Eighty Years War, between Holland and Spain (1568-1648) the Dutch revolted against the Spaniards. The Duke of Alva sent his troops to cities which were lead by William of Orange. William was a protestant who wanted a free country, King Filip II of Spain really wanted none of that.
In August 1573 the city was surrounded by the Spanish army and on September 18, 1573 the Spanish army charged the city walls, but on October 8 of that same year Alkmaar beat the Spanish soldiers, with help from outside rebels and by pouring hot tar from the city walls. You can read more here, follow this AWESOME LINK.
After the victory in Alkmaar many other cities in the Low Lands were able to beat the Spanish soldiers. There is a saying “In Alkmaar begint de Victorie” (in Alkmaar victory begins).
Women had active roles during a siege. They took care of the injured and poured hot oil or urine from the city walls to stop the enemy.
In 2018 & 2019 I decided to recreate the garb that might have been worn by this lady, as part of my Drachenwald Golden Egg challenge. For me, it was an important fact that she was found on the doorstep of my former secondary school… Realising she had been there all the time while I went to school, carried my books, parked my bike where she had died defending the town I grew up in. Isn’t that just awesome?
*Disclaimer: the Golden Egg challenge was about garb for me. It is not about your garb. I am convinced your garb is awesome. What I write is about possible garb for a very small corner of the world, namely the town of Alkmaar north of Amsterdam.
I will describe the process for you here!
For Dutch speakers, see this report. On page 32, top left you can see my old high school.
For English speakers, see more information here.
Great photos of the excavation here!
To recreate the 1573 outfit, I have done research for clothing between the years 1560-1590. The focus is the area north of Amsterdam.
I doubt the lady was on the battlements in her “Sunday best” so I am looking at garb of the lower classes.
Click on the links for the garments to see the details of my research: