Herjolfsnes no.41

Pattern drawing based on Nörlund

A long sleeved man's garment. It has waist-high gores in front and back, and four shaped gores on each side running from the arm holes to the hem. The side gores are only 4 cm (1.6") at the waist and along the torso. They begin to increase abruptly in width about the hip level.

Length from Shoulder to Hem: 120 cm (47.2")
Waist Circumference: 100 cm (39.4")
Hem Circumference: 425 cm (167")
Armhole Circumference: 63 cm (24.8")
Neck Circumference: 88 cm (34.6")
Sleeve Length: 62.5 cm (24.6")

The sleeves are full. There are 15 closely set buttons running on each sleeve from the elbow to the wrist. These buttons are each made from a glued wad of cloth, that is then covered in cloth.  In the neck, the material is turned under and the raw edge set with an overcast stitch.

Where the seams of the gores come close together at the waist they are ornamented with a row of backstitches making them very noticeable. The long opening of the sleeve is decorated with a row of backstitching. The bottom hem is decorated with two rows of backstitching. The material is a thin "fourshaft twill"; dark brown, although the weft is slightly more pale than the warp.

These, and many of the other Herjolfsnes garments have been re-examined by Else Ostergaard in her "Woven into the Earth: Textile Finds in Norse Greenland" (forthcoming), and hopefully I will be able to make corrections to this material at that time.

Based on the measurements above and observations made by Robin Netherton, and work done with mock-ups, this item is clearly not a "cote-hardi" of any kind, it is not closely fitted.  Based on the proportions of the garment, and the correlation to the skeleton it was found with, we can strongly suggest that it was a man's garment, and specifically a small and wiry man about 5' 5" (165 cm or 65") tall. suggested by the remains found with this garment.   Netherton also stipulates that Norlund's drawings are not consistent with his written measurements and are most likely inaccurate, and so should be used cautiously. She adds that later authors' re-interpretations of those drawings appear to be increasingly removed in accuracy from the original. (That observation, I should note, also applies to the drawing above.)

This page was last modified 10 June 2003

Some Sources:

Go to Tunic Page; Herjolsnes Site Page

Some Clothing of the Middle Ages -- Kyrtles/Cotes/Tunics/Gowns -- Herjolfsnes 41, by I. Marc Carlson, Copyright 1996, 2003 This code is given for the free exchange of information, provided the Author's Name is included in all future revisions, and no money change hands-