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Older School

Older School

Most people that read my blog know that I like to spend time in the woods and meadows, hunting, camping, hiking, etc. doing things “Old School.”   For awhile now, I have been playing with the idea of doing some of this even OLDER SCHOOL… 10th century style.   I know, this is not French or Wisconsin, but it IS history and my blog; so I figure I would share.

About 7 years ago I started thinking about putting together a 10th century Norse (Viking era) kit.  This was mostly inspired by hunting with my longbow.  I really felt odd hunting with a “primitive” bow while wearing modern real tree camo.  My historical accuracy controls did not like the idea of dressing as a voyageur since they didn’t shoot bows; and those that were shooting bows, the Natives, I was not comfortable dressing as to hunt.  Looking at the photos below, most will think this is odd;  but I thought it would seem a bit too weird and costumey (and I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea) of dressing native to bowhunt.  Anyway, I decided to just simple take history back to when my ancestors (German, Scottish via Norway and Denmark, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, etc.) were hunting with bows themselves.  I also thought this would be usable for doing a few other outings into the woods as well as for props when teaching my World History classes.

When putting this all together, it created a need to research an entirely different period and culture than I have spent the last 15 years researching.  Although it has been fascinating and fun, it has also frequently been put on the back burner.  I am finally taking time to get this set for the upcoming fall.  I really hope to get out and spend some time bowhunting for deer.

I am trying to make my clothing (and will my equipment) as plain and everyday as possible.  Looking at “Viking” reenactors online shows an enormous amount of decoration and wealth in clothing and items.  I do not want to look like a Jarl (earl) but rather a Karl (common person, famer, etc.).  I also want to keep things inexpensive and meanwhile avoid the fact that my overall knowledge is too limited yet to know the slight differences in style and fashion from period to period, region to region.  Part of me really feels like I should not care and that I should simple mix and match, doing whatever I like for the look I want.  This is not to teach the public and is simply “fantasy” for me to hike, camp, and hunt in by myself.  Whenever I start thinking this, my inner history nerd pulls back the reins and focuses me toward something more historically correct. I am a slave to my history obsession!

I still need to make a proper pair of shoes, a belt, a pouch to carry firestarting and other items in, and a few other things.  Below is a list of what clothing I have so far (and is then shown below in photos):

Trousers:  These are a brown tweed-like wool trousers built to a simplified pattern of my own that I created after looking at Thorsbjerg and Damendorf artifacts.

Tunic (kjortel):  A simple straightforward wool tunic of a natural, undyed wool.  I did not like how bright the undyed/unbleached wool was (a consideration for deer hunting) so I dyed it lightly to a pale yellow with yarrow leaves (the only dye plant available so early in the spring).  With dirt and grime, this should look fine!

Legwraps (wicklebander/winningas):  These, unfortunately, are not woven as strips, but simple torn out strips from left-over material from the hood.  I created small hooks to fasten them.

Cape:  This is actually an old wool blanket that my great-uncle gave me.  I have really liked it for a long time but have not had the opportunity to use it.  The colors are great matches for walnut, weld, and woad dyed wool.  I also love the plaid pattern as something different that will additionally serve to break up my shape (camo) while hunting.  Plaid fabric seems to have been around (if not common??) during this period.  There are examples of checked and plaid fabrics that show up in archaeological digs and there is a plaid cape that was found at Thorsbjerg.  I currently am fastening it with an old bronze brooch I got from a “Ren Faire” after I got out of high school.  I believe it was copied from an artifact from the Shetland or Orkney Islands.  It may be Pictish, but I think it is Hiberno-Norse. I may eventually replace this but have not the money or resources yet.

Hood:  A simple caped hood of a pattern composed from multiple originals.  this one is of a course, twill-woven wool in natural white and natural blackish/dark wool.

Cap:  A simple four panel wool cap that I dyed with madder roots.  I would like to eventually make a cap with naalbinding, but this will do until then, and I like the madder dye job!

6 Responses to “Older School”

  1. John says:

    Isaac,

    Heard of this group? You might like them—–http://www.sthubertsrangers.org/home.htm

    —John

  2. Chris depot says:

    Awesome! I’ve been into primitive weapons these days, I bring my sling into the woods all the time, practice my atlatl and of course my bow. Ive been looking into pre contact NE. Backsliding into history is fun and I love when my musket seems modern!

  3. Ken Brinley says:

    I have been doing 9th century for the last 6 years!

  4. Roger Longtoe says:

    Kwai Ike I to have been, farting around, for about ten years making shields/helms/langseaxs/axes/spears, and all sorts of other things and doing research on Germen Tribes and Viking, stuff. I just need to do something other then just the Abenaki stuff, just to keep my mind from burning out from all the Native, stuff I do. Swift Fox told me you were getting into Vikinging . I have not looked in on your blog, for some time now. So just stop in to see what your up to. looking good. Rog

  5. john says:

    I have like 90 percent of a Norse kit assembled….clothing wise. Lacking a good belt and cloak. I would like to get out in the woods of here’s

    too…not too many Vikings around…Good kit ya have

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