Fur in the 10th Century

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

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Fur in the 10th Century

Postby Cathal on Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:54 am

Hi folks!

We're working on a new winter kit for my wife at the moment. Now there's the question: what kind of fur would be typical for 10th c. Ireland? I'm not sure if the fox for example is native. And I know there's some evidence for skinned cats in Viking Dublin. What else could we use? I'm thinking of badger, otter, wild rabbit, lamb, seal....
As we try to represent Irish Vikings we don't want to use any "imported" stuff. What animals were native in early medieval Ireland??

Thanks a lot
Stefan
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby vlasta on Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:57 am

According to The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland by Nancy Edwards "Though the rabbit was not introduced into Ireland until the Anglo-Norman period, hare bones have occasionally been found, as at Lagore and Larrybane. Some other animals would have been caught chiefly for their pelts: at Ballinderry 2, for example, marten and otter bones are represented." You may as well consider using so-called "fake fur", where locks of pile are woven into the woolen cloth - some more info about it here, p.8.
I've no info about Irish foxes , but there is short article about foxes in England, maybe that helps.
Good luck with the winter kit!
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby redrazors on Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:57 am

hare is rubbish pelt, though. had a big discussion about this with dave of de clifford's at TORM in march. i wanted to buy some and he rather convincingly demonstrated how crap hare is [by ripping it into shreds with no effort, basically]. if you use the right colour rabbit it is easy to pass off as hare to the general public.
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby vlasta on Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:00 pm

I found a website, where the name of 6th century Irish monk Crimthann is translated as a "Fox" - so probably these animals were well known in early medieval Ireland.
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby Billy on Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:18 am

You're dead right.
Foxes are one of the few (14) native land mammals.

Good few are extinct in Ireland now, wolves, boar, lynx, bear, wildcat.

Surprisingly, red deer don't seem to be native, but appear to have been introduced in the Neolithic.
Funny old place, Ireland.
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby the_power on Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:14 am

Billy wrote:Surprisingly, red deer don't seem to be native, but appear to have been introduced in the Neolithic.


Heh. You remind me of a guy I knew from Howth. He was heard to say "The St Lawrences ? Nah, they aren't from Howth. Sure, they blew in with the Normans.."

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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby Cathal on Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:20 am

Billy wrote:Good few are extinct in Ireland now, wolves, boar, lynx, bear, wildcat.


Humm.... when got they extinct? Did we still have them in the 10th? I see, I've a huge deficit in Irish wildlife history.
My favorites for now are still otter, badger and, shame on me, cat fur... :oops: :shock:

Thanks for the info!!
Stefan

P.S. - before you go to stone me, our family chief is a cat!! ;)
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby Dave Mooney on Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:52 am

The were butchering cat at Caherconnel Cashel (Ring Fort). I only got my first full read of the dig report last night so I'll have to find the reference.

Or you can scan the report for it yourself at
http://www.tvasireland.ie/Reports/Caher ... report.pdf

This is the page for that dig
http://www.tvasireland.ie/caherconnell.html

or at 'http://www.burrenforts.ie/

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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby Roibeárd on Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:21 pm

Cathal wrote:
Billy wrote:Good few are extinct in Ireland now, wolves, boar, lynx, bear, wildcat.


Humm.... when got they extinct? Did we still have them in the 10th? I see, I've a huge deficit in Irish wildlife history.
My favorites for now are still otter, badger and, shame on me, cat fur... :oops: :shock:

Thanks for the info!!
Stefan

P.S. - before you go to stone me, our family chief is a cat!! ;)


Wolves and boar were present in the 10th cen Ireland. Im not sure about Lynx but the brown bear vanished in the bronze age.

Ireland infact exported wolf furs to britain (I think pine marten fur also) in the later medieval period.
Badger and Boar pelts aren't terribly nice and warm so I think fox, marten, seal, cat and wolf would have been the main furs used.
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Re: Fur in the 10th Century

Postby wiblick on Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:49 pm

Well let me see, according to Extinct Terrestrial Mammals of Ireland in the National Museum (I'll assume you don't want to know about Lemmings and other things that went extinct in the glacial & immediate post glacial periods or Bears etc. which were extinct by the Bronze age)

Wolf - extinct by 1786

and that's it. Everything else was well extinct by the 10th Century.

The Boar that were around in the 10th Century were apparently feral domestic stock pigs, not true wild boar... whose presence is apparently doubted by some scholars..
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