The Hammerum Burial Site: Burial Customs and Clothing in Roman Iron Age [Hardback]

Tinna Møbjerg (Editor); Lise Ræder Knudsen (Editor); Hans Rostholm (Editor); Ulla Mannering (Editor)

ISBN: 9788793423237 | Published by: Aarhus University Press | Series: Jutland Archaeological Society Publications | Volume: 103 | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 240p, H297 x W210 (mm)

The Hammerum Burial Site


The Girl in Red – Burial Customs and Clothing in Roman Iron Age is the story of a burial site told by more than 20 academics; a fascinating combination of different archaeological and scientific studies analyzing individuals, objects and context from different angles.

The burial site was named after the small modern-day town of Hammerum, 5 kms east of Herning in the central part of Jutland, Denmark. As early as 1993 the museum investigated this burial site, where seven inhumation graves emerged within a small area, most of which turned out to be empty of finds. Three of the graves, however, turned out to contain well preserved organic material, so they were removed as block samples in large wooden crates with a view to later excavation.

In 2009 analyses showed that grave 83 – known as the Hammerum girl’s grave – was a sensation. All that remain of the deceased was her hair and her dress, but it was the best-preserved Danish Iron Age textile from an inhumation grave. Therefore, it offers a unique opportunity to analyse an object which in most cases has disappeared.

The analysis tells us an extraordinarily nuanced archaeological story of daily life and of pan-Euro­pean ‘slow fashion’: a dress used in everyday life, produced by carefully choosing fine fibres which, together with the coiffure refers to a style recognizable throughout Europe and in this case worn by a mobile, well-groomed, well-connected Iron Age female. Moreover, the preserved organic material permits us a rare glimpse of the grief of the bereaved. We can see how they carefully wrapped the Hammerum Girl in skin and put blueberry twigs under her head before laying her to rest – an act of compassion and mourning.

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