Hallstat: 1200 - 475 BC (Early Iron Age)
A number of clothing scraps from the mine at Salzburg,
Austria have been found which tell us that textile
manufacturing was already quite advanced. Fabric finds
include various twill patterns, stripes, checks, and
embroidery, using a simple stem-stitch to outline
meanders and swastikas. The embroidery was done using
silk thread, probably unravelled from a garment imported
from the far East [Barber, Ancient Textiles, p. 204].
It is possible that textiles were sometimes stamped
with designs, since a number of small stamps have been
found in Central Europe from the Neolithic period which
are much like those used in the same area today [Barber,
Ancient Textiles, p. 175, 226].
Celtic women in Continental Europe wore what can be
described as a Greek- or Roman-style chiton over a
sleeved under-tunic for the colder climate. The Celts had
been in contact with the Greeks from early times, as is
shown by amphorae found far into northern Europe on the
route used to trade amber from the Baltic for goods from
the Mediterranean. The Celtic 'bog dress,' as it has been
called, might have been an imitation of Greek garments,
or it might have been a logical development due to the
shape of the finished fabric produced on a loom: it's
very simple to make a dress by taking a length of fabric,
doubling it on itself, pinning it at the shoulders and
belting the waist.
Greek women's clothing: see COSTUME IN ANCIENT GREECE. Follow the directions for making a
peplos or chiton for the outer dress. For the inner
dress, make a basic narrow-sleeved tunic, or follow the
instructions for a Viking tunic on Carolyn Priest-Dorman's Home Page.
Celtic men are described as wearing colorful tunics,
with or without breeches. Sleeves are narrow to the
wrist, with decoration at the wrist and neck; short
sleeves were also worn. The breeches could be wide,
narrow (as on the Gundestrup cauldron), or in one case,
wide at the top, fitted below the knee, and with straps
beneath the instep; there were probably various fashions
from place to place and time to time. (Dunleavy, p. 17) The
Brigantia web page (put up by a group doing Iron Age
Celtic reenactment in the U.K.) has fairly comprehensive
information about men's clothing in this time period, as
well as information about weapons, etc.
Clothing was highly decorated with fringe and
embroidery. The Celts even had 'cloth of gold', made by
wrapping thin strips of gold around the threads.
Embroidery was usually done with stem stitch in silk or
colored wool on linen, since linen does not take dye
well, or sometimes with white linen embroidery on a
colored wool background. A 'brocaded' cloth (meaning that
it was woven with floating decorative threads) was found
in Irgenhause, Switzerland, with a very geometrical
design of checkers and several large triangles. Beads
were also used to embellish clothing. (Barber,
Prehistoric Textiles, pp. 139-140)
Hair was worn (in battle, at least) spiked with lime.
This had the effect of bleaching the hair, so that one
would achieve the effect described in the depiction of
[Findabair describing CuChullain:] The man has
long, braided, yellow hair with three colours on it:
dark brown at the base, blood red in the middle and
golden yellow at the tip. (Gantz, p. 235)
Celtic women were known for wearing their hair in
ornate braided arrangements, sometimes with golden balls
holding the tips of each braid. Celtic men also braided
their hair, as seen above. See my page, Hair, Jewelry, etc.; also see Social
History of Ancient Ireland.
Then, there is, of course, the famous Torc; but enough
has been written about that elsewhere.