Two reconstructions of the Borum Eshoj hairnet, with differing density of threads.

Introducing my Sprang Hairnet project! The find, and why I wanted one

I’ve made a sprang hairnet! ┬áThis series of posts will share what I learned by making this project.

Two reconstructions of the Borum Eshoj hairnet, with differing density of threads.
Two reconstructions of the Borum Eshoj hairnet, with differing density of threads.

When I first made my Danish Bronze Age outfit, I had long hair, so figuring out how to dress it to complete my impression was pretty straightforward.

Elling Woman's hairstyle
Elling Woman’s hairstyle

I wore my hair in these stacked braids, because Elling woman was executed wearing this hairstyle, and that’s really rather cool.

It was also practical – most SCA events are outside, where it may be windy, so it’s nice to have something that doesn’t flap in one’s face.

But in the Blog Hiatus, when I went back to school and got a corporate job, I cut my hair to a bob, and flapper curls are both incongruous with prehistorical (edit: early historical) appearance, and a mess in the wind. So what to do?

Here’s my solution to historical impression uncertainty: Find a burial site(s) with a nice collection of stuff you like, and just Collect ‘Em All. ┬áSo what does the dig offer for hair?

The Borum Eshoj and Egtved dig documentation showed hairnets made with a technique called sprang, and it occurred to me that a hairnet might work as well to conceal short hair as to corral long.

Borum Eshoj Woman's grave contents
Woman’s grave contents at Borum Eshoj, from Carl Kohler.

Conveniently, others have made reconstructions of these hairnets, and detailed diagrams of the structure are available, so I figured ‘how hard could it be?’

Two reconstructions of the Borum Eshoj hairnet, with differing density of threads.
Two reconstructions of the Borum Eshoj hairnet, with differing density of threads.
Borum Eshoj sprang hairnet illustration
Artist’s illustration of how the Borum Eshoj sprang hairnet might have been worn.

A lovely artist’s rendition of what this hairnet might have looked like worn.

No, I’m not setting you up for irony. It’s not hard.

In the next installment of this series, I’ll cover what sprang is, and how to learn it.

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