Earthenware cookpot experiment #1

I’ve been thinking about early medieval cooking lately, and some experiments I did 7 years ago with early medieval cook pots. You can’t put modern stoneware ceramics in a fire: the clay body is too sensitive to rapid changes in temperature, and will crack when exposed to an open flame (this is called ‘thermal shock’). […]

Peasant shoes

An annoying problem with reconstructions of the clothing of sixth-century lowland England is the lack of evidence for shoes. Leather rarely survives in graves, and we have little evidence of footwear before the seventh century. Did they go barefoot? Often, they probably did — Quita Mould notes that many medieval depictions of farmers and craft […]

Anglo-Saxon Blacksmith’s Tongs

Today, I finished a pair of blacksmith’s tongs. They are a copy of a pair found buried in a seventh-century grave in Tattershall Thorpe, England, with a man thought to have been an itinerant (mobile) smith. I started with two 10″ long bars of 1/2″ x 1/2″ square plain iron, recycled from an old fence. […]

Strike-a-light, firesteel, or pursemount

I wanted to make myself a new pouch, and that took me down a rabbit hole. The result was an artefact that has one of my favorite names: the strike-a-light. Anglo-Saxon pouches hardly ever survive in archaeological contexts, but their contents and their metal decorations do. One of the more common of these decorations, found […]

Designing a tunic for a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon

The tunic is the most basic garment of the early middle ages. It is also, however, one of the most challenging to research and accurately recreate. A series of unfortunate chances has rendered this staple garment almost entirely archaeologically invisible, and determining its fit, pattern, and style requires equal parts inference, guesswork, and experiment. This […]

Early medieval pillbox cap

I made two hats over the weekend! They are more than a little silly. But I suppose most hats are? The pattern is derived from a wonderfully preserved hat found in a settlement excavated near Leens, Netherlands, dating to the 7-9th centuries. You can read a detailed discussion of the hat (including a step-by-step breakdown […]

PD Heater Shield, By Beardalin

This is a Dwarven inspired shield with images from the Hobbit, the dragon Smog, the Lonely Mountain, and an array of axes flanking the center. The edge is done in runes for Strength, Wisdom, and Enchanted Gold.   This shield is a plywood cored build, we started with a scrap of 3/4″ ply, cut to […]