The Moselund Kirtle
|Top, Extant Garment; Bottom, My Reconstruction|
Crafted and documented by Tiarna Bránn mac Finnchad
The Moselund gown was discovered in a bog 1884, in the Moselund Region of Central Jutland (Denmark), on a male bog body. The body is stated to have been 180cm (6 feet) tall, and has been radiocarbon dated to between 1050-1155AD. It does not seem like there has been much in the way academic studies on the find—just about every page I have found refers to Ancient Danish Textiles from Bogs and Burials by Margrethe Hald.
The original museum reconstruction—since the threads had dissolved and the garment was in all of its separate pieces—was as some kind of strange trouser suit with a matching cape[i]. In 1938-1939 it was re-examined and sewn together in its current configuration.
The Moselund find is a tunic, corresponding to Nockert Type 2[i] or Nørlund Type Ic[ii], with front and back slits. It is a fairly loose fit, though with close shoulders, and semi set-in sleeves (complete with ‘S’ sleeve heads). It appears to be mid-calf in length (approximately 49 inches in length, according to my calculations). There appears to be little to no signs of wear before it ended up in the bog, with its unfortunate wearer.
It has been declared as the only surviving example of the blaðakyrtill (of the Icelandic Sagas)[iii]. Looking into the term, kyrtill does mean kirtle—nothing odd there…but blað means leaf, blade, or skirt (of a kirtle). Blaðra can also mean “to flutter to and fro”, which may be an apt description of the skirts of this garment when being worn in the wind or whilst riding.[iv]