Die Textilfunde aus den Gräbern, Birka: Untersuchungen und Studien III

by Agnes Geijer

This book covers many of the textile finds from Birka, Sweden. The grave finds are not representative of the Scandanavian culture of the times in that most of the people were buried in the dress of the fairly well-to-do. The finds are dated to the 10th century.




Geijer places the wool textiles into 4 main groups (overview / translation by Nancy McKenna):

The first contains wool fabrics type w1 thru w9 (about 20 pieces examined of this type). These are two shed weaves (plain weave) of coarse threads, often a felted wool.

Type 2 are more common (56 pieces) and are types w10-w21. These are extreamly fine fabrics. The yarn used in these is remarkably uniform. The thread is smoothly and tightly spun and there is no trace of felting so that the weave pattern is clearly seen. Because of the quantity and also the high quality of these fabrics, it is believed that they were woven on a large commercial scale outside of Scandanavia. This is further born out by investigation under the microscope.

Type 3 is a two shed weave, but much finer than the previous. The finest of these (w22-26, possibly to w30) are of fine smooth wool and are considered to be import goods.

Type 4 covers a large quantity of four shaft twills. (w34-45). Their character is like modern 'handspun' or 'tweed' fabrics, the warp and weft are usually the same wool but with different twist characteristics.

Birka s10

W 10 wool fabric, after image on p. 24 (fig. 2)

Birka w-11

W-11 wool fabric, after the image on p. 24 (fig.4)


Birka w-12

W-12 wool fabric, after image on page 24 (fig. 3)


Birka w-14

W-14 wool fabric, after image on p. 27 (fig. 8)


Birka w-15

W-15 wool fabric, after image on page 27 (fig.7)

Birka w-16

W-16 wool fabric, after image on page 27 (fig. 5)

Birka W-17

W-17 wool fabric, after image on page 27 (fig 6)


birka w-34

W-34 wool fabric, after image on page 37 (fig. 10)


Birka W-39

W-39 wool fabric, after image on page 37 (fig. 11)




From page 60:

Birka silk type s3

Digital image of fabric type S3 (above), drawdown using 24 shafts (below)

24 shaft s3 drawdown


S3: a16 shaft adaptation, created by Nancy M McKenna. The motif has been made smaller and also there are more tie-downs to keep the floats a little shorter than in the original. 16 Shaft s3

digital fabric (above) and the draft to create it (below)

s3 draft using 16 S


(c) 1999-2003 Nancy M. McKenna Last updated September 26, 2003