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Weapons as items of dress

(1,161 words)

Author(s): Esther Cameron
Swords from 5th- and 6th-century burials in England often have evidence of scabbard remains of leather and wood on the blades. The wood used was most commonly willow laths which were lined on the inside with lambskin and covered on the outside with a hairless skin to hold the scabbard together. This outer skin was sometime decorated with simple linear designs in low relief. At its upper end, or mouth, the scabbard was straight and sometimes decorated with a metal band of either silver gilt or copper…

Leather: garments and footwear

(1,233 words)

Author(s): Esther Cameron
The earliest evidence of Anglo-Saxon leather clothing consists of fragments of shoes and belts in richly furnished burials of the late 6th and early 7th centuries. The footwear comprises two pairs of finely-stitched turnshoes (the sole and upper stitched together and then turned inside out) with decorated vamps from the royal cemetery at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk; and a belt fragment of similar date, decorated with tooled parallel lines, found at Buttermarket, Ipswich, Suffolk. Traces of leather belts are relatively common f…