Taking a Closer Look at a Pair of 1,600 Year-Old Socks
They don’t look 1,600 years old, but they don’t look new either. And they’re bright red! I don’t expect something that’s over 1,000 years old to look so vibrant. Maybe, too, it’s the size. They’re so long that they look as if they could fit Shaquille O’Neal’s famous size 23 feet—if his feet were also really narrow. After I incredulously posted this image on Facebook this past week and remarked on the antiquity’s unique qualities, a friend most succinctly responded with just: #ancientaliens. - Continue reading at Smithsonian.com.
Photo: Victoria and Albert Museum
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Particularly intriguing about these “very useful examples” is the technique used to construct these red wool socks. Called nålbindning, or single-needle knitting, this time-consuming process required only a single thread. The technique was frequently used for close-fitting garments for the head, feet and hands because of its elastic qualities. Primarily from prehistoric times, nålbindning came before the two-needle knitting that’s standard today; each needle was crafted from wood or bone that was “flat, blunt and between 6 -10 cm long, relatively large-eyed at one end or the eye is near the middle.”