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Patrick Gilbers





Joined: 25 Oct 2008

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 3:19 am    Post subject: Viking Thorsbjerg trousers         Reply with quote

Hello,

does anyone know the Thorsbjerg trousers? Do you know how they should be worn? I mean, should they be a rather tight or a baggy model?

thanks in advance!
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William Goodwin




Location: Roanoke,Va
Joined: 17 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 4:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Historic Enterprises offers an example of them....

http://historicenterprises.biz/trousers-thors...ath=99_190

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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 5:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I understand it, the seam at the back of the leg was actually open at the ankle, with a pair of laces to tie it shut. So that implies the legs would fit pretty closely. However, I'd say they should be baggier in the seat, simply to allow free movement, bending, and sitting.

Incidentally, the dates I've heard for these trousers go back as far as 1st to 3rd century AD, so I'm not sure I'd call them "Viking". Huh, looks like Historic Enterprises dates them much later, but I've hardly kept up with the latest details on this find so I can't really debate it. But I don't think anyone will give you much grief for wearing these with a Viking impression!

Matthew
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes the specific Thorsbjerg pants are from early, pre viking iron age. But there are similar finds from later period, like the ones at Hedeby, those were only partial pieces but seemed to archaeologists to be along the same lines. Usually those finds aren't at all as well preserved as the Thorsbjerg though so the archaeologists are just guessing at part of it and extrapolating from the Thorsbjerg find. Like they do for many things really.

I've made several pairs of these pants, both for germanic tribesman re-enactment (with feet) as well as for viking garb (with no feet). I didn't do the drawstring at the back as I couldn't see any in the pictures of the find at the time. Doesn't mean it's not there but simply that it wasn't visible in the photo I had available from the find.
The pants become something like wool longjohns if made tight and if made looser they are more like normal pants. Note that having attached feet means the garment will need a clean about as often as a pair of socks, meaning more often than pants -or they will start to smell. Using 100% real wool helps though since it's at least partially self sanitising.
Also note that real wool tends to shrink quite a bit when washed, this will make them tighter so keep that in mind when making them.

Here's a link to a re-enactors' reconstruction:
http://www.gelfling.dds.nl/thorsbjerg.html

Also see this picture of the actual find:




The trick with making these pants is to cut the groin area rectangular piece sideways to the thread so it becomes flexible, similar to what you do to make hose flexible. This makes them more comfortable and more resistant to wear. And think of the larger square buttock piece as similar to the one on cowboy undergarments, but not openable of course. But yes, it will be sort of baggy at the backside. At least unless you make them tight, and then soak them and let them mould to your body. Don't know how historically accurate that would be but it makes them tight fitting.

If you're looking for a viking age baggy pants versions of it use the groin and upper part and simply make the legs 3-5 times wider. 3 times if using wool type thicker fabric and 5 times if using a thinner material like linen.


Here's another link to reconstructions of the trousers, this one's very good.
http://www.shelaghlewins.com/reenactment/thor...iption.htm

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was not aware of the find, and the attached socks suprise me a bit since socks probably wear out sooner than pants, separate socks just make more sense to me.

What kind of shoes would be worn with them?
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Nov, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry Patrick, I didn't ask what you were using them for, just guessing at Viking since I'm into viking culture myself. Maybe you're into germainc early iron age, or Anglosaxon or Frankish. These pants would fit either. Possibly even very late Roman noble also, they liked to dress up in germaic garb for kicks.

Typically for either viking age scandinavians or anglosaxons, probably something like this coppergate shoe would be suitable?
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/sca/danr_as/shoes/VIKING_SHOES.pdf

Or for something simple, here's instructions on how to make simple front seam shoes. Not how I'd make them but I guess it could work.
http://www.vikingsonline.org.uk/resources/aut...kit15.html


"Ghiles" or more of a version of the roman Carbatinae are worn by the man in the photo with the Thorsbjerg pant reconstruction posted above. That would be fine for most re-enactment, SCA or similar they're pretty widely accepted, even for far later ages. These were likely used by most anglo/scandinavian peoples during iron age. Let's call them Ghiles, or nobody else will know what you mean. But probably they're actually a varaint of the roman carbatinae, more on that below.



Better get thick wool socks for them though like in the picture, they're not warm shoes.

Ghiles is really an Irish drawstring toe shoe, used from probably early iron or bronze age up to modern versions used for dancing shoes today. But I personally think that what re-enactors today call Ghiles isn't really the same shoe, or a different variant of it exists also. Finds I've seen photos of indicate they're not cut straps drawn together at the toe like above but creases in a thin leather shoe shaped around the toe. The Carbatinae type shoe though looks just like this and is probably early iron age germanic in origin and can be seen on several surviving late Roman statues today, and has the same toe type but often with a higher calf. Romans spread stuff all over europe, to Britain of course and central europe so it probably saw use all over back in the day. Possibly a viking a few hundred years after the fall of the western Roman empire could have picked up a pair in Britain, or France or at the very least Constantinopel where eastern Rome still was alive and kicking.
I love to wear this type of shoe, they feel like walking barefoot almost as you can stretch the toes as you walk but are still shoes more than sandals and fairly easy to make. It's not a turn shoe so it can be made with as thick leather as you want. I have a good pattern for a high calf variant I use in the SCA if you want that I can scan or take a photo of.

Here's a guide I just found on how to make Ghiles somebody posted on the web for download as a pdf. Seems like it requires some kind of membership to download.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Viking_shoes/

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Richard Hare




Location: Alberta, canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2008

Posts: 135

PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2010 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please forgive me for ressurecting this thread, but when I first saw these trousers in a Skalk magazine, what really surprised me was the belt loops!
Apart from the feet, they look very modern.
It would appear these are 3rd century as alrady stated, but that the design continued into the 10th at any rate, (Hedeby) but I still find the loops a bit of a bombshell!!

Seems there Is nothing new under the sun!

The above shoe information will be a great help when I get to making some, Thank you!

Richard.
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William R. Short




Location: New England
Joined: 14 May 2007

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sun 28 Feb, 2010 5:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A how-to guide with pattern for Thorsbjerg trousers is here on the Hurstwic site:
http://www.hurstwic.org/library/how_to/thorsbjerg_trousers.pdf

The trousers are super comfortable, with great freedom of motion. I wish I had modern trousers as comfortable.

Best regards,
William Short
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