Colourful patterned clothes appear in the early Iron Age according to new analyses of 180 textile samples from 26 different bog finds, carried out by Ulla Mannering, a senior researcher and archaeologist at the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research at the National Museum.
Ulla Mannering examines textiles at the Centre for Textile Research. Image: University of Copenhagen
“The beginning of the Iron Age sparked a revolution in fashion in which clothes became coloured and patterned,” she says. Conventional theory held that access to colourful textiles only emerges in Scandanavia in the centuries after the 1st centuries AD. This discovery pushes back the date by at least 500 years.
The new analyses also shows that the bog bodies from which the textiles were taken are older than previously thought with most of them dating back more than 2,000 years.
The discovery also challenges the view that the bodies, which had been buried in an ancient sacrificial bog, where prisoners or poorer people, who for some reason had been destined to be sacrificed or punished.