Hedeby Bag

Making kit is one of the fun parts of re-enactment that you can do between events. At the moment the corona virus means that there are no events happening so we have plenty of time for crafting.

One of the things that is always useful for a re-enactor is a good bag. We know something about bags used by the Vikings because bag handles have been found at various sites including these ones from Hedeby, the bags themselves haven’t survived as fabric seldom does but they do show that these bags came in various sizes and various designs

From http://europa.org.au/index.php/articles/21-bags which has some excellent research on bags

Gary wanted a nice sized bag so he had somewhere to hide any modern items he wanted to keep with him at events, we try not to have anything obviously modern on show but for the sake of security people need to keep things like car keys and wallets with them.

The first step was to make the handles, these were carved from a piece of beech flooring.

Handles -these were the first set made, the actual bag was made with a larger pair

The shape was cut and sanded then the board was cut down the middle to turn the single piece into two identical pieces. More sanding and then the whole thing was waxed for a nice finish.

We don’t know what the bag part of the Hedeby bags would have looked like, although we can extrapolate from Sami bags and pictures of people using bags. Gary went with what he thought would be useful – a large almost square bag with a gusset. The bag was made using material left over from patching a woolen tunic and lined with undyed linen for extra durability.

Finised bag showing lining and how handles attached
Ready tp dance around at the next Viking disco

This will come in very useful.

If you want to try making your own there are some great step by step instructions online, I particularly like the ones at https://www.academia.edu/33315581/Viking_Haithabu_Hedeby_Wood_Handled_Shoulder_Bag

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