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Vikingatida brickväv från Valsgärdes båtgravar: en teknikbeskrivning samt några tankar
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2019 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Viking age tablet weave from the boat-graves in Valsgärde : a technical description and some thoughts (English)
Abstract [en]

In the collections of Uppsala university, cared for by the university Museum Gustavianum, is the collection of finds from the Valsgärde cemetery, located 4 km north of Uppsala. The cemetery contained boat graves, chamber graves, cremation graves and other finds. Among the boat graves, dating from around c 600–c 1000 AD, some includes textile finds. The primary source material for this study are the tablet woven bands found in three of the Viking age boat graves.

I first came across these tablet woven borders in 2014 when writing an early stage thesis in Textile history (Textilvetenskap), a subject taught at Uppsala university at the department of Art History. This article is based on the research I carried out then and have since continued with. The research focuses on the weaving techniques and materials used in the bands. An attempt to work with a theoretical framework based in crafts research and crafts as a concept and idea – instead of just being a method for understanding the production process from a technical perspective – is also made.

The bands are brocaded with metal thread, similar to the Birka bands. However, in the Valsgärde bands a spun thread is used in all bands but one. What makes the bands from Valsgärde particularly interesting are the two different weaving techniques present.  Some of the bands are patterned with the quite common technique “lifted warp threads”, and some with an additional weft in a soumak technique. Metal brocaded bands patterned with soumak are unusual both in the Viking age and in the later medieval material. The theoretical framework of the study shows that the bands can be interpreted as part of a symbolic funeral outfit. If the bands are used prior to the funeral is not known. The study draws on material from both earlier and later periods to discuss why this dress decor appears in Viking age Scandinavia, and particularly in East Sweden. The fashion of the Frankish crusade era take part in the discussion and so does the tirazsystem of early Islam.

The study concludes that understanding Viking age dress is much more than knowing what the persons wore. The symbolic dress in the graves tells us about some kind of fashion – or vestment – system and if we can read the code, we would be a lot closer to an understanding about the Scandinavian mentality of the time. This however is a task for a larger study, this one has only shown where to start.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Boat grave, fashion, tablet weaving, tiraz, Valsgärde, Viking.
Keywords [sv]
Båtgrav, mode, brickväv, tiraz, Valsgärde, Viking
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395879OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-395879DiVA, id: diva2:1365538
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Available from: 2019-10-25 Created: 2019-10-25 Last updated: 2019-10-25Bibliographically approved

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