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The genetic and historical linkage between the Old Norwegian Sheep, the Icelandic Sheep and the Navajo Churro

The genetic and historical linkage between the Old Norwegian Sheep, the Icelandic Sheep and the Navajo Churro

By Doreen M. Gunkel

Published Online (2012)

Thesis: It may be possible to substitute a readily available double coated sheep fleece from the American Southwest for the original Scandinavian double coated fleece in order to make suitable vadmal fabric for clothing.

Introduction: A popular subject of Arts and Science projects in many historical recreation groups is the reconstruction of Norse garments. In particular, hobbyists and scientists alike have extensively researched garments recovered from archaeological excavations in the southeastern settlements of Greenland, and more specifically from the Herjolfsnes cemetery. A characteristic of the garments recovered in these excavations is that many of them are made using a cloth known as vadmal (Old Norse vaðmál.)

The sheep used in the production of vadmal varied from area to area, but the nature of the production dictated the use of double-coated sheep (sheep having an outer coat formed of hair, and an inner coat of wool) such as the Old Norwegian sheep.

Because of the rarity of the original Old Norwegian sheep and its limited geographical location, it is difficult if not impossible for a historical reenactor in the Americas to obtain vadmal cloth or even fleece from the Old Norwegian sheep in order to create historically accurate garb for a Norse persona.

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