Pearl/ Ásfríðr (pearl) wrote,
Pearl/ Ásfríðr

Skjoldehamn Hood

Translation of part of "paa en Stang Struden efter hannem bære". Forskning på hetter og struthetter fra Nordens middelalder.
Masters Thesis in Archaeology, by Vera Hügel, 2005

Note: Please see the comments below by Katrin Kania from A Stitch In Time for further clarification and notes.

pp. 16-20 Done!
As this is less than 10% of the thesis, and this is for research purposes, I believe this is fair dealing for the purposes of research, or since Livejournal servers are in the US, fair use. However, the 10% rule doesn't apply to translations, and it seems I'm not the only confused amateur translator out there...

As always, my own comments are in brackets.

3.2 Skjoldehamn
In 1936 an individual was found in a swamp, on a farm in Skjold harbor [Skjoldehamn] (Gavelen, Farm #14) on Andøya. [Thanks catsidhe!]
The individual was clothed and wrapped in a blanket.
The find context was messed up [?omrotet] when the individual was placed into the grave on the left hand side of the marsh.
It was expected [at the time] that the discovery was a body from the 18-19th centuries, and so attracted little interest.
The farmers were asked to carefully take the find, and send it to the museum.

Upon further study, the garments were distinctly medieval. In 1937, examining the context of the discovery, including the report from those who found the grave, show that the individual was dressed in shirt, tunic, pants, hood with skirt, ankle cloths, socks, shoes and a belt. This suit was dated by Gjessing, due to it's similarity of other medieval garments, to the end of the 1400's or early 1500's. (Gjessing 1938:27,40-52,70)

The main reason for this dating, is that the standing collar [?collar is kragen, but the text gives 'kraven' meaning demands] of the shirt only been known from the middle of the 1200s, in the European Middle Ages (Schjølberg person. comm.). Accordingly, it was assumed that the style could not have manifested itself so far to the north, in so little time.

In the 1980s, C14 dating of the skeleton and blanket was conducted. Bone samples were dated to 1000-1210 AD, while the blanket was found to be 200 years younger. (Holck 1988:115) New samples were taken in 1998, and these produced the resultant date of between 995 and 1029 AD. All results from C14 dating were in conflict with the shirts' standing collar, creating historical costume issues. (Nockert & Possnert 2002:60,61)

Provision of the individuals' gender and ethnicity also posed problems, as the Skjold harbour may have been inhabited by both Sami and Norse people. The outfit gives no absolute diagnostic criteria for belonging to either group. (Nockert & Possnert 2002:60,61) There are only a few fragments of the skeleton that remain, as the head of the femur [?kalken i bena] had dissolved in the acidic marsh humus. It is therefore difficult to say for certain what the individuals' gender was, although Holck described the skeleton as delicate without marked muscle-bulk. (Holck 1988:111-115) In 1999, a molecular study of the bones was attempted, and DNA was discovered. However, neither Sami genetic markers nor a Y-chromosome was found. The interpretation of these results, was that the individual had been a woman, and there was only a 20-30% chance that she had been a Sami.(Nockert & Possnert 2002:60,61)

However, several factors make such a conclusion uncertain. For one, Vesterålen and Andøya have been an area, where the population have been a mixture of Norse and Sami (Guttormsen 1994:162-167). Secondly, a position must be taken about the comparative DNA-analysis. The selection of 'representative' DNA markers of Sami ethnicity, are based on the premise that one can see such identical markers backwards through time. This is largely influenced by 19th century evolutionary thinking, that posit that primitive, demarcated, and tradition-bound groups develop slowly (Welinder 2003:89).
When the DNA from these bones is analysed, and used alone to determine ethnicity in a non-ethnically-homogeneous area, it is difficult to draw certain conclusions about the persons' ethnicity. It is also possible in such a context to question whether ethnic identity is bound up ain ones' genes, or whether it can involve individual choice in how individuals relate to one ethnic group regardless of genetic associations. Last but not least: The isolation of prehistoric DNA has proven
extremely difficult. Then there is the chance of contamination from the grave itself, and later researchers,

so it is more likely that it is the local farmers, or a later researchers DNA that is analyzed (Persson 2005:3-7).

3.2.1 Hood
The warp yarn of the hood is stronger, in order to withstand the stresses of the weaving process. There is therefore a greater proportion of dekkhår [?hair] in the warp yarn in relation to the weft yarn which is underspun [?underull]. The weave of this fabric is firskaft kypert [?twill of some sort?] (Gjessing1938:40). The hood is the only garment, that appears to some extent to be inside-out, and a dark felted layer on the inside of the hood is caused by the elements of the wool felting themselves. [I assume this means, the inside of the hood had fulled itself?] The woolen warp of the wool was like the dark, but did not felt. A survey of the hoods' surface, shows that the side was undamaged, and protected by being inside-out. [Assuming I've understood that it was inside-out, otherwise I'm confused.] The fabric of the hood is very smooth, but has unevenly shrunk in places, due to strong rolling [?valking] (Schjølberg: u. å.).

The hood has lost its' original colours, due to its' time spent in the marsh, but the inside of the hood is a noticeably darker-brwn than the other parts of the outfit, so it is assumed to have originally have been brown. The clear difference in colour between outside and inside, is assumed to be a result of bleaching. The woolen element of the hood may be seem to be this brighter shade, due to everyday wear and tear, or that maybe the fine fibres simply bleach easily (Schjølberg: u. å.)

The cap consists of four parts. Two rectangular pieces are sewn together issen and along the long-edge, this forms the cap, and continues below the head forming shoulder-coverage. These pieces are cut along straight lines, but analysis shows that all of the pieces do not come from the same warp-direction [?vevbane] of the cloth. Two wedges were inserted, one from your chin and down, the other behind the neck, running down the back. The wedges expand the coverage of the hoods' shoulder-covering, and are analysed by Schjølberg as being square in shape. This contrasts with the description by Gjessing of rhomboid shapes.

[There is a diagram of the difference between Schjølberg's square gusset and Gjessing's rhomboid/diamond shape.]
The back-wedge belongs to the same fabric [warp direction as the body?], there is a clear difference in the colour of the threads used for warp and weft. The left-hand side and back of the hood is fully preserved, along with a large part of the right-hand side. The left-side of the chest-wedge and a bit of the right side, under the chin also survived. The bottom edge is merely hemmed with overcast stitches [kastet over] and there is no sign that the hem was folded up (Schjølberg: u.å.)

Gjessing compared the hood to a "Nørlund type I" category, [Note, see here] but commented that the Skjoldehamn hood was a simpler form. Type I hoods have a cut-out [tilskjæring] from underneath the chin, which causes the hood to fit closely. The Skjoldehamn hood is missing this, but it does have along each side, under the ear a braided end [of cord?] sewn on. Gjessing states that this string is used to reduce the opening of the face-hole, through a hole under the chin. (Gjessing 1938: 40.41)
But, there are no sewn holes in this area. but near to the chest-wedge-seam, there are two holes on either side just below the chin area. The holes are ragged-edged and it would be unusual if they did represent wear-holes. The cord on the left-hand side is fully preserved, and ends with a tuft. From string to hem measures 13cm, not including the part from crown to chin. On the right-hand side, 6cm of cord was preserved, and the strings were tied under the chin. The right-hand string must have been longer than the left. As the fabric of the hood shows no distortion at the strings' attachment points, that would be expected from repeated use, then either Gjessing's proposed use is wrong, or it was rarely utilised. (Schjølberg: u.å.)

The rectangular pieces that make up the hood, were overcast on the outside [sydd sammen over issen] of the garment before other sewing was undertaken. They are not sewn together from the inside as it is common in the Middle Ages and so it is done for the rest of the outfit. This is clearly indicated by the thread-tracks left in the fabric, and by the displacement of fabric threads that occur when the sewing is pulled tight.


The hem of the hood is almost invisible, the visible stitches are exactly parallel with the weave of the fabric [nøyaktig på tvers av bretten og langs innslaget]. All of the top seams are sewn with the same yarn, and the seam provides greater height along the comb at the front than the back. It means the hood sits further forward around the face opening. (Schjølberg: u.å.)
According to Gjessing, at stressed points on the hood, the seams had unraveled which were repaired inexpertly with rough and irregular, thick brown woolen string in two different shades of brown. This is unlike the original pieces, sewn with evenly and tightly spun thread. (Gjessing 1938:40,41) Although Gjessing assumed these stitches were repairs, Schjølberg's analysis said that they were original.
One back-seam [thread?] was originally yellow, and possibly a decorative element, along with ascending tack-stitches added aslant. [med stigende tråklesting lagt på skrå.] Each stitch is 5mm long with 5-9mm distance between stitches, the seam starting and stopping with a knot. The red thread follows the right-side of the hood all the way along the face opening. On the left side, it runs down 15cm from the top edge before it begins to overlap with a yellow thread. This yellow thread then continues continues down, and stops 19.5cm from the top edge. Both face seams are essentially straight lines on the inside of the hood, and aslant stitches facing the outside. The yellow thread would have contrasted to the color of the cap and may have been an attractive mimicry to the yellow back-seam. (Schjølberg: u.å.)

For reading that far, you deserve a photo of a puffin: The real 'chicken of the sea'...

Tags: hood, skjoldehamn

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