Ancient clothing artifacts are extremely rare because fabric disintegrates quickly. And it’s a startler when archaeologists discover clothes in the ground or ice. So, when a Viking hand-woven lost mitten was found in the melting ice of Norwegian mountains, the scientific community went wild with excitement. This time, it was one of a kind discovery, as there were no similar discoveries anywhere else in the world.
Lendbreen is a pass high in the Norwegian mountains. It was used by people who wanted to cross the mountains since the Roman era and until the late medieval period. Today, due to global warming, more ice melts in these mountains and new artifacts appear on the surface.
One of such finds of the latest years is a left-handed mitten that dates back to the 9th century, the Viking era. It was probably once lost by its owner during the crossing of the mountain ridge. The value of this mitt is in its uniqueness – such Viking mittens haven’t been found anywhere else.
Another interesting thing about this winter accessory is that it’s woven (probably using a twining technique) and not created using the nalbinding technique (knitting with a single thick needle) that was common at the time. The mitten is sewn from several pieces of hand-woven textile and has a gray felt-like material for lining – it is visible from under the partially disintegrated fabric on the outside of the mitt. This lining was added by thrumming – loose fiber knitted into the work to create a very soft and lofty lining for extra warmth.
Indeed, this Viking mitten is a work of art and a very valuable addition to the world fashion collection.
Photos: Vegard Vike from the Museum of Cultural History