Coats (Women)

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Also known as: Caftans, Kentish coats, Frankish coat, Merovingian coat

The origin for this style of coat parallels that of the male warrior coat. Both were introduced by the Huns and the other Asiatic tribes into Western Europe in the late 4th and into the 5th centuries. From here they were adopted across mainland Europe and in Britain into Kent until the end of the 6th century. [WALTON ROGERS 2007]:p.191 [WALTON ROGERS 2012]:p.207
In Kent they seem to fall out of fashion in the 7th century with the Kentish fashion be-coming the same as the rest of England by the end of the century. [WALTON ROGERS 2007]:p.192-3 This corresponds with the coming of Christianity to England, also in the C7th century.
In 7th century Scandinavia a possibly sleeveless version had been adopted by the Swedish as can be seen on a guldgubber from Helgo. [WALTON ROGERS 2007]:p.192-3 [WALTON ROGERS 2012]:p.210. The adoption of mainland European textiles types into Scandinavia at this time has been noted by Bender Jorgensen [BENDER JØRGENSEN 1992]:p.136 and Walton Rogers suggests that they may have also adopted mainland European fashion as well [WALTON ROGERS 2012]:p.210 such as the Merovingian coat.
Birka was an active town from the mid 8th century to the mid 10th century (750-950AD). Geijer discusses cloaks found at Birka edged with a cord or decorative hem. [GEIJER 1939: p.140] Hagg reinterprets some of these cloaks as being coats [HAGG 1971]:p.153 [Hagg 1984:p.63]

Possible Reconstruction of the Hedeby Coat

Viking Womans Coat.jpg

The above drawing is based on Hagg's reconstruction of the finds from Hedeby.[HAGG 1971]


Bender Jørgensen, Lise (1992) North European Textiles, until AD 1000. [BENDER JØRGENSEN 1992] ^ *
Ewing, Thor (2007) Viking Clothing. Tempus. [EWING 2007] *
Geijer, Agnes (1938) Birka III - Die Textilfunde Aus den Grabern. [The Textile finds from the Graves] Birka, Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien [GEIJER 1938] *
Hagg, Inga (1971) 'Mantel och kjortel i vikingatidens dräkt'. pp.141-153. (Available Online) Fornvännen: Vol.66 [HAGG 1971] ^ 1 2 *
Hagg, Inga (1984) Die Textilfunde aus dem Hafen von Haithabu. [The Textile Finds from the Port of Hedeby]. Hedeby-Ausgrabungen in Haithabu [HAGG 1984] *
Walton Rogers, Penelope (2007) Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England AD450-700. CBA Research Report 145. Council for British Archaeology. [WALTON ROGERS 2007] ^ 1 2 3 *
Walton Rogers, Penelope (1994) 'Costume and Textiles'. In Parfitt, Keith and Anderson, Trevor (2012) Buckland Anglo-Saxon Cemetery, Dover. Excavations 1994. [WALTON ROGERS 2012] ^ 1 2 3 *