Sunday, September 22, 2013

Iron Age Sweater


An interesting news item. An iron age sweater made somewhere between 230 and 390 A.D, which makes it one of the oldest sweaters known. It was found on a rocky hillside revealed by a melting glacier in Norway. The owner, probably male (apparently, it would fit a slim 5'9" man) probably stopped to enjoy the view, perhaps the sun was shinning and he took the sweater off and put it next to him. Maybe something disturbed him. Whatever happened, he left it there.  The photo of it lying on the rocks shows how hard it was to distinguish between the sweater and the rocks. 
[Photo: Marianne Vedeler] The sweater
was found 6,500 ft up Lendbren glacier.
I imagine he was kicking himself for days after for losing it. Perhaps he tried to retrace his route and never did find it. Or something prevented him from returning. 
Almost 2,000 years later someone stumbles across it. Suppose it was you that found it. How would you feel? Finding something so personal and in such good condition builds a bridge connecting you to him across all those years. I would clutch it and look around for him, thinking perhaps it was only a moment or two since he left it, maybe at most a few weeks if it was wet. But forever after, I would harbour the idea of time travel. Maybe it was me, the finder who scared him off!

The sweater was woven in diamond twill, a common design in those days. The closeup picture seems to show the warp is S-twist (spun z) and the weft is the opposite Z-twist (spun s). It makes me wonder why? Any weavers out there who could shed light on the advantages of S warp and Z weft?


  1. Fascinating. I'm guessing it was one of those September days, the ones when my kids would leave for school in the morning with a new sweater or jacket against the day's early chill and come home in the afternoon heat sans sweater/jacket. If I noticed in time, I might send them back for it, but often we wouldn't realize until a week or so later . . . meanwhile, some time traveller had picked it up and skedaddled. . . .;-)

  2. And all those missing single socks. Maybe there is a wormhole to another parallel universe for socks :-)