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Kirstine Haase

Leather Shoes in Early Danish Cities: Choices of Animal Resources and Specialization of Crafts in Viking and Medieval Denmark

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  • Luise Orsted Brandt
  • ,
  • Jannie Amsgaard Ebsen, Odense City Museums
  • ,
  • Kirstine Haase

This article presents the findings of the minimally destructive biomolecular species identification method known as ZooMS (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry) to identify the use and choices of resources for manufacturing leather shoes in urban contexts in Viking and medieval Denmark. Whereas parchment and historical skin samples have been previously analysed by ZooMS, the potential of the method is demonstrated here for archaeological, vegetable-tanned, and waterlogged leather from the eleventh to thirteenth-century Danish cities of Ribe, Odense, and Viborg. Sheep, goat, and cattle were used to produce shoes, with explicit choices of species for specific purposes. The selection seems to be largely based on the skins' material properties, suggesting that functionality was more important than signalling. The urban environment is seen as promoting synergy among providers of resources, crafts, and customers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Pages (from-to)428-450
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • animal resources, crafts, leather shoes, medieval, urbanization, ZooMS

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ID: 201622689