A Woman's Costume from an Early Roman Iron Age Burial

This find is from the Lonne Hede in south West Jutland. The clothing found here makes an interesting change from the chiton or t-tunic.

The upper garment or “blouse’ is blue twill with “narrow, tubular tablet-woven red border” which are sewn to the edges of the fabric. The garment is fastened at each shoulder with a bronze fibula which goes through both layers of fabric. A sliver fibula is fastened in the middle of the upper chest. No layout for the garment is given, but from the accompanying illustration, it probably looks something like this:

The skirt is made in two sections. The waist section is blue with red stripes. It is gathered to fit the waist by a string threaded through the material itself (Fig. A). The body of the skirt, a plain blue, is sewn to this border (Fig. B). The border section measures 72cm around. The width of the skirt section is not known, but a section still attached to the border was tightly pleated. If the pleating continued all around the skirt, the width of the skirt section would be about 220cm. However, the author thinks the gathers were probably over each hip, not all the way around, which would result in a narrower skirt.

The skirt was trimmed with a vertical strip of tablet-woven braid, 6cm wide. The briad was blue and red “with half turns, double-woven stripes, and cording.” The illustration looks like a three-block wide check with a raised cord between each check row, vertically. A bead was sewn to the top border of the skirt, and a bronze pin was placed parallel to the border at about knee height.

This must have been a colorful costume when new, and holds a lot of promise for replicating clothing of the early Roman Iron Age.


Munksgaard, Elisabeth and Ostergaard, Else. “Textiles and Costume from Lonne Hede, and Early Roman Iron Age Burial.” Archaeological Textiles (Report from the 2nd NESAT symposium 1.-4. V.), 1984 (pp. 53-64).

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