Sunday 14 June 2015

Neolithic Archer's Outfit

This post was moved from our main website in 2015

In 2009 we were commissioned to recreate two outfits to present an impression of a Neolithic archer's clothing based in part on the Otzi finds of a few years ago, supplemented with wider extrapolation about materials and conditions suitable to the period.

The outfit used 10 goatskins (7 hide on, three leather) and a decent slice off a deerskin and off a cowhide.First a few in the studio:

Gareth talking to the archaeologists about the outfit:

And wandering through the site en route to a location for filming (lots of funny looks from visitors):

Making an arrow shaft using replica flints, arrow straighteners, dogfish skin as sandpaper, sinew etc. Gareth is wearing a woven plant fibre shirt as well as the leather and fur garments. Evidence suggests that flax, nettle and other plant fibres are being woven into cloth by  this date, and it made a plausible addition to the garments worn by this particular Neolithic hunter.

And finally, loosing an arrow from the replica bow. Its a selfbow, in yew, and its pull weight is over 95lb, Gareth was the first person to draw it and we were all terrified it was going to explode. Fortunately the bowyer who made this did excellent work, and all was well.

The above outfit was for many years on display in the Origins Gallery at the National Museum Wales, Cardiff. That gallery is currently closed for refurbishment, but we're hoping to see the display up again.

We are currently exploring the evidence for Neolithic clothing with the aim of creating more experimental outfits for use in our teaching and demonstration work. Since working on this project we have made educational costume for other heritage sites including Stonehenge and the Avalon Marshes Centre.

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