How to pleat a shirt in the 15th century

Medieval Clothes Fragment

Medieval Clothes FragmentHow to pleat a shirt in the 15th century

Beatrix Nutz and Harald Stadler

Archaeological Textiles Review: 54, 2012, 79-91.


Introduction In the course of extensive renovation work in 2008 at Lengberg Castle, Nikolsdorf, East Tyrol, archaeological surveys became necessary in several parts of the building. These were carried out under the direction of Harald Stadler from the Institute of Archeology, Department of Medieval and Post- Medieval Archaeology, University of Innsbruck. In the south western room on the 2nd floor of the south wing of the castle, a vault filled with waste was located and documented. The filling consisted of dry material in different layers, including organic matter such as branches and straw but also processed wood, leather (especially shoes) and more than 2700 textile fragments, not counting yarns, cords and ropes. The architectural history of the castle (evidence of alterations can be found in the travel diary of Paolo Santonino), the architectural study of Martin Mittermruer and Walter Hauser, Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments Tyrol, and the archaeological features date the finds to the 15th century.

The material was probably dumped in the vault when a second storey was added to the building by order of Virgil von Graben who was a burggrave at Lengberg in the name of the Archbishops of Salzburg. According to Paolo Santonino, the castle chapel, then also situated in the south wing of the castle on the first floor, was consecrated on October 13th, 1485 by Pietro Carlo, Bishop of Caorle. Assuming the reconstruction was finished by the time the chapel was consecrated the finds from the vault predate the year 1485. Five radiocarbon dates from the textiles, analyzed at the ETH Zurich, now confirm the dating.


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